Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 5:42am
DEARTH OF DRAMA DESPITE DEMAND
[SOURCE: Multichannel News, AUTHOR: R. Thomas Umstead]
Industry observers believe that the proliferation of African-American actors and actresses in mainstream drama serials has made the void of African-American-targeted originals less obvious to viewers. Still, some programmers believe that thereâ€™s a demand for quality and culturally relevant original dramas among African-Americans and mainstream viewers. networks have been leery of offering dramas revolving around African-Americans because of fears that such shows won't draw the mass audience necessary to lure advertisers, which in turn help fund high production costs for one-hour dramas that range from $1 million to $3 million per episode. Indeed, TVâ€™s track record with such shows isn't stellar. While viewers over the years have shown a willingness to watch African-American life and culture through sitcoms like Good Times and The Jeffersons in the 1970â€™s, The Cosby Show in the 1980s, Martin in the 1990s and most recently Girlfriends and Everybody Hates Chris, the reverse has been true for dramas. Over the past 20 years dramatic series like Fox Broadcastingâ€™s 413 Hope Street, CBSâ€™ family-oriented Under One Roof starring James Earl Jones and the hospital skein Angels -- all of which received critical acclaim -- failed to last a full season before being cancelled due to poor ratings.
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