Unveiling its new primetime plans this morning at its traditional Upfront day press breakfast, CBS took some heat for lack of diversity. First, one reporter noted almost all the new shows star men: Kevin James in sitcom Kevin Can Wait, Matt LcBlanc in sitcom Man with a Plan, Joel McHale in sitcom The Great Indoors, Michael Weatherly migrated from NCIS to drama Bull, Lucas Till playing Angus “Mac” MacGyver in the remake of MacGyver, Augustus Prew as a young Silicon Valley tech titan in Pure Genius and Bill Paxton as Detective Frank Rourke in Training Day.
Katherine Heigl really stood out as the star of Doubt, in which she will play a brilliant attorney who starts to fall for a client who is accused of murdering his girlfriend.
Asked whether the network had “focused too much on male characters,” CBS Entertainment chief Glenn Geller noted its female-centric returning series such as Mom, 2 Broke Girls and Madam Secretary, calling the schedule a “great balance.”
One reporter persisted, saying that, at a time in which viewers are seeing more diverse casting and shows that feature women prominently, CBS’ new schedule seems to have gone in another direction.
“Our new series are more diverse this year than last,” Geller pushed back. “And when Doubt premieres, it will be the first broadcast seriesto feature a transgender series regular, played by a transgender actor. We are moving in the right direction.” In that series, Laverne Cox plays a colleague of Heigl’s named Cameron Wirth, described by CBS as “a transgender Ivy League graduate who fights passionately for her clients, having experienced injustice firsthand.”