ABC has sent a memo to executives, producers and casting agents urging them to make diversity a priority in the development of current and new programming.
In the two-page correspondence from network co-Chairmen Stuart Bloomberg and Lloyd Braun, the executives reiterated the Walt Disney Co.-owned network's commitment to increasing diversity, suggesting that "agencies, managers, guilds and the production companies use all available means to expand the pool of candidates."
The letter called for more "colorblind" casting. Noting that many ABC shows have strong minority characters, "we encourage all of you to continue to seek ways to more fully integrate characters of diverse backgrounds into the story lines of existing shows and to develop new shows with characters of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds."
ABC in January made an agreement with the NAACP to strengthen diversity at the network.
The memo didn't generate much reaction from producers, who have followed the networks' negotiations with the NAACP; however, a network spokesman said Tuesday that the letter was not directly related to that agreement. "This is not part of it," the spokesman said. "We are just showing with the letter that we are not giving this issue lip service."
Officials of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People could not be reached for comment.