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psy 1050 - Professor Dr Roger Klein Media Psychology PSY...

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Professor: Dr. Roger Klein Media Psychology: PSY 1050 10/13/09 Latino and Minority Regular Characters on Prime-Time Television Prime-time network television remains one of the most popular sources for our society to connect us to the world around us. Even with the increasing popularity of the internet, people continue to watch television. Among all television projects, networks mostly focus on programs which air at prime-time due to the bigger audiences which they receive. Every television show, regardless of genre, definitely includes regular characters whose lives serve as the central point of each episode, and secondary characters. Prime-time regular characters as a whole can be considered as a micro-projection of our society. The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center started researching the ethnic landscape of prime-time television in 2002. Based on the collected information, they created a report, which consists of charts which clearly demonstrate ethnic distribution on the prime-time television shows. Authors based their research on the two year statistical information for the six main commercial networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UPN, and WB. Researchers were especially interested in how race was depicted on-screen through regular characters on numerous sitcoms, reality programs, dramas, news, sports events and specials. Although the authors present statistics on regular characters for all minority ethnic and racial groups, they specifically targeted Latino regular characters (LRCs) in their research. The Latino population is one of the fastest growing in United States lately, and the report illustrates that according to the statistics, in 2004 Los Angeles county region had a 45% Latino population, and 27% of New York City populations were of Latino origin. Nonetheless, LRCs have been slightly presented on CBS and NBC and are almost no noticeable on FOX, WB, and UPN. The same trend can be noticed this year fall season. Trauma, a prime-time series on NBC,
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has only one LRC - Amiee Garcia as Marisa Benez, while Glee on FOX does not have any, which definitely shows that this minority group is underrepresented there. Therefore, ABC is the only network which accomplished having 50% of its regular characters with Latino origin. Based on the research, the number of Latino-themed shows and series decreased as well from 2002 to 2004. As a proof of this trend, this year’s new series The Forgotten on ABC surprisingly does not have any Latino Regular Characters. Speaking of Latino-themed shows, I would note that ABC still has one of the most popular and viewed shows in the USA: George Lopez Show, which was presented by the report as the single Latino-based returning sitcom in 2002 and 2003, and it is still very popular regardless of the race and ethnic origin of viewers. Nonetheless, I agree with authors of the article, that white main characters prevail on the prime-time television, and there is limited number of actors of other origins. It is true not only for Latino minority characters, but also for African-American and Asian ones.
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