The CW secured top spot among broadcast networks for LGBTQ+ representation for the fourth year in a row as part of GLAAD’s annual Media Report.
But CEO and Chairman Mark Pedowitz said that the network can do better in terms of diversity – both in terms of its internal hiring and who it works with externally.
Some 80% of its new season schedule, which includes shows such as The Flash, and Riverdale, has diverse and/or female showrunners and nearly 60% of its regulars on its scripted series are diverse with 47% women.
In addition, three of its key development projects — Wonder Girl, Naomi and Slay — feature diverse superhero leads with diverse and female showrunners.
Pedowitz told Deadline that he is broadly happy with the diversity onscreen at the CW.
“There has been a concerted effort for everyone at The CW and our studio partners to create this diversity and inclusion,” he said.
However, he admitted that he is “less happy with ourselves.” This includes internal hirings as well as ensuring that it works with a broad swath of diverse external vendors, such as Black-owned photography businesses or diverse catering companies. That is his “next big step.”
“What I want to do is improve ourselves so we’re more reflective of the society at hand,” Pedowitz said. “We need to do a better job internally and externally. I’ll cop to that. We need to create a legacy for the CW so the next generation that we hire that is reflective of society,” he said.
But he doesn’t believe that this should be mandated but rather done in the “normal course of business.”
“We didn’t create rules or mandates, we just went out and did it for our shows,” he added, “and if you do it in the normal course of business, it isn’t real difficult. It’s when you let yourself get lax that you slip into bad habits.”
Pedowitz is the latest high-profile network executive to admit that the journey toward equal representation has only just begun.
FX boss John Landraf revealed last summer that the Disney-owned broadcaster was looking to hire an SVP of diversity and culture, an “ombudsman.” “We have real work to do [on the executive level],” he said at the Edinburgh International TV Festival. “We need deciders. I want the culture of FX to be a vanguard organization. I want it to represent a microcosm of the country.”
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