Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hollywood: Take Notes From The Walking Dead

Dear Hollywood:

AMC's The Walking Dead (TWD) is "walking" in the right direction by taking a large leap towards diversity representation. It earned a cable record-breaking 17.3 million viewers for its 5th season premiere (best for a non-sports program). It started its 4th season with 16.11 million viewers and sealed itself as "the highest rated hour of cable television ever". It became the highest rated cable television show in its third season. And it set records with the 18-49 year olds going as far back as Season 2. Converting viewership to dollars, this means TWD can charge premium ad rates per slot. TWD's ad rate of $600,000/slot stirs up envy in the NFL, as its top games warrants it to charge $570,000/slot.

This is no accident either. According to Dr. Darnell Hunt's 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report, global box office revenue brought in $130.5 million for films that cast 31-40% of minorities, versus only $50.7 million for films that cast no more than 10% of minorities. Casting a number of minorities that, when combined, closely resembles the non-white demographic make-up of America translates to a nearly $80 million revenue difference!

TWD utilizes its cast to showcase diversity in more ways than just "race" - diversity of character roles and character development as they relate to "race", gender, sexual orientation, and age. I'm pretty sure there are many more areas of diversity TWD portrays, so feel free to add your input.

Here are some examples (spoiler alert!):
1. Tyreese is a gentle, sensitive caretaker

2. ...and he shows extreme heroism fighting through a horde of walkers without getting bitten!
3. T-Dog is not the first significant character to be killed off the show.

4. Michonne is a heroine - an adept leader with great intuition

5. ...and she was a mommy to her own

6. ...and she is a mommy to Judith

7. ...and she's sensitive. 

8. Sasha is...fierce! She's also a realistic leader

9. ...and she's fine!

10. Gabriel is nonviolent, non-aggressive.

11. Noah is a regular teenager.

12. Rosita (a Hispanic) is a walker killer who led the crew out of Terminus.

13. Daryl is a sensitive caretaker, just like Tyreese.

14. Aaron is an intuitive, tenacious leader...who happens to be gay!

15. Tara is a great team player...who happens to be a lesbian!

16. Carol is a heroine - an independent, strong leader...who is in her 40's.

17. Officer Lenner (above) and Deanna (below) are capable female leaders of their respective groups.

18. Glenn saves Tara on 3 separate occasions.
19. Glenn is also a strong leader and a team player...who delivered pizza before walkers became a majority "race"

20. ...and he stands up to bull.

21. Glenn is also a romantic

22. ...sexual

23. ...affectionate

 24. ...caring 

25. ...loving

26. ...romantic

27. ...passionate

28. ...protective survivor.

OK, now I'm done with Glenn.

Long story short, Hollywood, diversity sells. Let me repeat that. DIVERSITY SELLS.


Not your stereotypical Asian guy

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