My buddy Broadband over at The Wider Perspective wrote a very interesting piece on the disappearance of black sitcoms both over in the States and here in the UK. Check it out!
Beating me to the post (ha ha get it) as I was gonna write on a similar issue following the cancellation of The Game and Everybody Hates Chris, I just had to comment on his page giving my two cents, so I hope he doesn't mind me re-posting.
Mayne, this was gonna be my weekend post! But I will speak on it anyway by commenting.
I agree with the whole primary/secondary network theory. I think execs want to play it safe and not risk losing their viewers, especially if they are unsure how an 'ethnic sitcom' will be received. But it's a catch 22 situation because without taking a risk, how will they know whether they are missing out on a hit? In these harsh economic times especially for the broadcast industry due to the lack of finance via advertising, it's worrying that things are not going to change any time soon - playing it safe and sticking to a 'sure-thing' is seen as the most economically sound option. Also, what is the incentive to commission and run an 'ethnic' sitcom? Scrubs, 30 Rock etc resonate with a range of different communities. Moving slightly away from sitcoms, how many Black, Asians, Chinese people watched Sex & The City, Friends or are addicted to Desperate Housewives? Many, but those programmes featured no ethnic lead characters. They were just good programmes. Therefore, is there a need for specialist and targeted programming when a programme with mass appeal touches all bases? Playing the devil's advocate here, but this is what execs may be thinking so again I ask, what is the incentive?
I think a revolution is needed -I apologise for the theatrical tone but we need something fresh, a new format aside from the typical Eve's, Half and Half's and The Game. I was at a Ghanaian Union function not too long ago - gotta keep in touch with the culture people - and something one of the elders said stayed with me. There are so many smaller unions and inspiring individuals that are all doing great things to represent Ghana, however they are not doing it collectively - it's too fragmented so no one union can make the impact that they intend to. So in that same spirit, I think what is needed is a more collective approach....(Lightbulb!!!!) Power and strength in numbers people, combine creativity and business sense then maybe we can give the networks something worth taking notice of.
L.Mayne, I'll be in touch...
I think it's time I stopped talking and put some things into motion. What do you guys think, is there a need for ethnic programmes? Is the whole idea of ethnic targeting redundant anyway? Are you attracted to programmes, products, services because they appeal to your ethnicity or to you as an individual.
Speak on it!