Over the years, CBS’ reality-TV stable has come under fire for a few different things — with casting in particular being near the top of the list. Shows like Survivor and Big Brother both have documented incidents of racism among the contestants, with it often even playing out in real time on Big Brother live feeds.
What has caused some of these prejudices? It has a lot to do with marginalized people being placed almost immediately into a minority environment, and then throwing in high stakes and other contestants who come in with their own share of prejudices. On Big Brother in particular, you often see a situation where there are only a few Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) contestants in the field — which is often 16. This leads to many of them being singled out almost right away. Big Brother has never had a Black winner, and only has three minority winners across 22 seasons.
Today, CBS made a promise to change at least the makeup of some of their shows moving forward. According to a report from TVLine, starting in the 2012-22 TV season shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race will have a cast with 50% BIPOC representation. Why next season as opposed to this one? It may be because Survivor season 41 has already been cast, though it is unclear when it will actually start filming. Big Brother 23 should adhere to this model, as we’re far away from a cast being announced there. (The Amazing Race season 33 is midway through filming, and was shut down due to the pandemic.)
Hopefully, these changes lead to a more fair and well-represented environment on all of these shows. While the results of the change remain to be seen, it does at least allow these contestants the opportunity to be better seen and heard — they can’t just be pushed aside, whether intentionally or unintentionally, just for the way that they look.
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What do you think about this new announcement from CBS?
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