National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts chmn Felix Sanchez took the broadcast nets to task for their lack of Hispanic lead actors in prime time shows Tues during a NAMIC acceptance speech. In an interview later he said cable nets are guilty of the same, however. "Cable is just as deficient as everyone else," he said (though he gave props to FX for "The Shield" and HBO for independent Latino films). "There are some hopes for new cable channels, like Si TV and LATV," but they have a long way to go, he said. While accepting NAMIC’s Mickey Leland Award, Sanchez blasted as "indefensible" Fox’s casting of 2 non-Latinos as Latinos on "The OC." He criticized the show for lacking Latino leads, and for making its Latina character the one who gets pregnant "of course." He lamented that Hispanics make up 27% of the population in NYC, but have no lead roles on popular NY-set shows, such as CBS’s "CSI" and NBC’s "Law & Order" (and its L&O spinoffs). "What we wind up getting is on the fringe, the periphery," Sanchez said. "If you’re not central, you’re a potted plant. I’m sorry but that’s all minorities tend to be on some of these shows." The speech drew a standing ovation and praise from NAMIC pres Jenny Alonzo, who noted "The Apprentice" has 2 African American contestants, 1 Asian contestant but not a single Hispanic. "That’s inexcusable," Alonzo said. "You mean to tell me in all of NYC, they couldn’t find a Hispanic from a high-falutin’ school? Boy, do we have work to do." Later, she asked NBC-Uni’s Jeff Zucker whether one of the contestants named Maria was Hispanic, and if she wasn’t why wasn’t there an Hispanic representative. Zucker didn’t know Maria’s ethnicity, but said he trusted producer Mark Burnett to have diversity in casting. "If we don’t cast our shows so that they look like America, that’s just bad business," he said. "People want to see who they look like."

The Daily


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