James Hibberd, EW, May 18, 2016
When CBS ordered six new shows last week, fans on Twitter pointed out the one thing they all had in common: The top-billed actor in each was white and male.
Soon observers began to accuse the broadcaster of not doing enough to cast women and actors of color at a time when the rest of the industry was making strides in that direction.
On Wednesday, CBS unveiled its fall schedule to reporters and network executives were asked about the network’s “male-centered” lineup.
“We are the network that has Madam Secretary and Two Broke Girls and Mom–we have lots of female leads, we have a great balance,” said CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller. “Actually our new series are more diverse this year than last year. When Doubt premieres, I’m happy to say it’s the first broadcast series to feature a transgender series regular played by a transgender actor. I think that’s phenomenal. We are definitely moving in the right direction.”
Geller is referring to the network’s midseason legal drama with Katherine Heigl, that features transgender actress and rights advocate Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) in a costarring role.
Another midseason drama, Training Day, features actor Justin Cornwell, who is black, as a co-lead. Veteran actor Bill Paxton costars in that series, filling the role Denzel Washington had in the original film.