Don’t call it diversity, call it real life

ABC President Paul Lee on diversity in television programming:

ABC is not on a mission to change TV, Lee insisted. He sees it as reflecting society as it is today.

“We think that’s our job,” he said. “Its not so much diversity as authenticity, if you’re reflecting America. We think these shows are deeply relatable, When I watch Black-ish or when I watch Cristela, I am one of those families.”

……ABC president Lee said his own background as an outsider – a British immigrant who studied Portuguese at Oxford and worked in Brazil before settling down in the U.S. – has helped give him a different perspective.

“Being an outsider is sometimes a great advantage and sometimes a disadvantage,” Lee said. “Sometimes you gain more than you lose from that perspective. It gives me a chance to look at things from another angle. The reality is, great stories resonate in the heart and gut of the audience, and that’s true anywhere in the world.

“I was brought up on American shows as much as I was on British shows,” Lee said. “My job isn’t to sit here as a Brit, commissioning American shows. My job is to see whether these shows move me, whether they move me to laughter or tears. If they do, and they do it in an authentic way, then we have a chance to resonate in the U.S. and beyond.”

Don’t call it diversity, call it real life.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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