The television industry has often been criticized for a lack of diversity in employment. Now the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation is tackling the issue head-on with a major symposium.
The foundation will host a daylong event titled “Television’s Challenges in Black, White and Multi-Color” Saturday, Oct. 23, at its campus in North Hollywood, Calif., ATAS Chairman Dick Askin announced.
Leslie Moonves, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom, has been named honorary chair of the event. He will work with Academy Foundation officials to select a panel of top industry professionals to participate.
“Diversity has been a goal of the industry for a long time but until now little has been done to bring everyone in the industry together for discussion,” Mr. Askin said. “This event will offer an opportunity to have an open dialogue with the members of the Television Academy and embrace the cultural diversity that is present.”
The Academy Foundation announced that the symposium is made possible thanks to a grant from TelevisionWeek. “There is no more important issue in our industry,” said Chuck Ross, VP, publisher and editorial director of TelevisionWeek. “I’m very pleased that it’s one that ATAS recognizes is so significant as well.”
Marcy DeVeaux, president of DVG Communications, who along with Academy Governors Board member Vince Gutierrez is co-chairing the event, said a highlight will be a roundtable case-study discussion on the importance of diversity in the television industry. It will be moderated by Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree.
The event will include breakout panels covering diversity from the perspective of television writers, directors, agents, craftspeople, programmers, executives and performers.