HUMANITAS Studio Partner Paul Lee Discusses Diversity in ABC Lineup

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paul-lee-with-shonda-mainABC is taking a bold step this fall to diversify prime-time television by prominently showcasing African Americans, Latinos and other minorities on a scale never before seen on a major American network.

The broadcast networks have traditionally cast white actors in lead roles, calculating that they would help boost a show's chances of success in the ratings and international sales. Not only that, but the creative team behind the camera has also been typically white as well.

But those traditional biases are fading, Paul Lee, ABC's entertainment president, said Tuesday during ABC's presentation at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

"America doesn't look like that anymore," said Lee, a native of Britain. "When I came here, I wanted to find shows that reflected America. That's our job."

Shows with all-white casts "feel dated," added Lee.

But it was the blockbuster success of writer/producer Shonda Rhimes' hit, "Scandal," starring Kerry Washington, that paved the way for this season's changes. The drama, which launched in mid-season two years ago with seemingly low expectations, demonstrated that America would embrace a show starring an African American woman.

Read more at The Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-tca-2014-abc-diversity-paul-lee-20140715-story.html