August 14, 2023

From the Chair

Frank Scherma, Chair

After the July 12 announcement of the nominees for the 75th Emmy Awards, it was gratifying to note how much of the media coverage acknowledged the diversity among those represented. The nominees this year include people who are Black, Asian-American Pacific Islander, Latino, Middle Eastern, LGBTQIA or disabled. The Television Academy has long been committed to increasing diversity in our membership and across the industry, so it's encouraging that the nominees vying for television's highest honor are becoming more representative of society as a whole. However, there is still much room for improvement.

Last December, to expand our advocacy for greater diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in television, the Academy held our first Inclusion Summit, an open forum attended by DEIA-titled industry leaders, showrunners, members of the Television Academy leadership and many others. To build on the productive dialogue of that day, we committed to convening similar events twice a year.

Fulfilling that commitment, on June 27, we held a second Inclusion Summit on our North Hollywood campus. Attendees included more than eighty high-profile industry changemakers and drew major networks, studios, production companies and narrative change organizations. It was an impressive gathering, with contributions from experts who shared compelling information on media representation of multiple groups.

To cite one example, keynote speaker Madeline Di Nonno, president and CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, shared a study done by the Institute that examined the intersectional onscreen representation of gender, race, LGBTQIA, disability, age fifty-plus and body type identities over an eleven-year period. Among its conclusions: the gender gap in screen time for male and female actors has improved. But there's a glaring age gap between the sexes — most male characters are aged thirty-three to sixty, most female characters eighteen to thirty-three. In addition, most children's programming does not reflect the U.S. population. For instance, 25 percent of Americans have a disability, but their representation on new kids' shows is less than 1 percent. Similar disparities persist for other groups.

The Summit also included a presentation about efforts to humanize the immigrant experience in television programming; a report on corporate human resources initiatives to educate employees about DEIA; an update on new projects from GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQIA media advocacy organization; and a discussion on strategies to combat antisemitism and promote accurate representation of Jewish people and Judaism not only as a religion but a culture.

The second Inclusion Summit, like the first, affirmed the Academy's pledge to advance DEIA goals in the television industry wherever and whenever it can. And even amid the current work stoppages, the Academy is committed to promoting DEIA values in all facets of our industry.

I want to extend sincere thanks to all who participated in the Inclusion Summit. We're already making plans for the next one, to be held in December.

Finally, one important reminder: the deadline for final-round voting in the 75th Emmy Awards competition is Monday, August 28, so be sure to cast your ballots!

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