CBS announced on Monday a new set of diversity goals for its unscripted programming, aiming for casts that comprise at least 50% Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
These changes are scheduled to come into effect with the 2021-2022 season, meaning viewers should expect much more diverse casts for the next seasons of Survivor. The casting process for Seasons 41 and 42 had wrapped up in early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic led to filming being postponed. Those seasons are currently in the process of being recast with the new diversity goals in mind.
“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group. “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network.”
As well as changes in casting, CBS is also promising improvements on the production side of things, with at least a quarter of its annual unscripted development budget being allocated to projects created or co-created by BIPOC producers. The network also plans to increase diversity across other areas of its unscripted programming with new initiatives, though exact details have yet to be revealed.
The news comes following a petition launched earlier this year by former Survivor contestant, J’Tia Taylor, calling for more racial diversity in Survivor’s casting, filming, editing, and promoting. The initiative was co-signed by several Survivor alumni and led to the formation of The Black Survivor Alliance, a group formed with the aim of “bringing light to our collective experience with implicit bias and racism on and off the show.”