Mills has spent his first full year as head of BET Networks building the family of networks’ strengths, increasing original content by 21%, including recent ratings high note “The Bobby Brown Story,” and “Hustle in Brooklyn” set to debut this Fall. Next year will be a potential watershed one for the company as Tyler Perry’s deal to create content for BET kicks in. “The industry needs to significantly step up its efforts to increase ethnic diversity among its senior executive ranks. The status quo is untenable and is a material limiting factor for the overall status of diversity and inclusion,” Mills says.
A February 2018 UCLA study revealed that of the 45 new scripted shows approved for 2017-18 across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, only four were from creators of color, all of whom were black. What is your reaction to this report?
Two things jump out at me about this statistic: First, the absence of new shows from non-African American creators of color. I’m optimistic that the theatrical success of “Crazy Rich Asians” will increase networks’ appetite for content from a broader array of creators of color. The second is that, to some extent, it is a lagging indicator. That is, it doesn’t reflect the significant, likely unprecedented, volume of development activity happening with creators of color in our and adjacent industries today.
In what areas should the industry step up its efforts with regard to diversity and inclusion?
The industry needs to significantly step up its efforts to increase ethnic diversity among its senior executive ranks. The status quo is untenable, and is a material limiting factor for the overall status of Diversity and Inclusion in the industry.
What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
The industry has now embraced the creative and commercial value of engaging diverse creative talent to bring new stories and fresh perspectives to viewers. This is a wonderful step forward.