The Paley Center for Media has become known for their annual Paleyfest events showcasing fan-favorite television shows with cast panels and screenings. Aside from those programs, the Center located in Beverly Hills not only serves as a museum for the culture of television but also hosts additional events throughout the year. One of the most logical extensions is their week of programs dedicated to the fall television premieres. ABC held their showcase on Thursday, September 11th to debut four of their new comedies and one of their freshman dramas.
The evening included screenings of Forever, Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, Black-ish, and Cristela as well as panels for the latter two titles. While I won’t go into too much detail about the shows here (don’t worry — we’ll have full reviews of all the new programs after they air), there was one theme that was on everyone’s mind when the new line-up was announced: diversity.
Cristela’s titular leading lady, Cristela Alonzo, spoke to this when asked by panel moderator if playing to Latino audiences might alienate other viewers. “One of my favorite movies is Die Hard… Why do I like it? It’s not because there’s a piñata it in… I like Die Hard because it’s a great movie,” Alonzo said. She continued saying, “That’s how you get anybody to watch; you’ve got tell a good story that people can connect with. It’s about doing good work!… How is it so hard to think about that?”
While Alonzo might feel that the race angle and demographic “TV math” have been overstated when it comes to storytelling, she also spoke about her excitement for the color shift at ABC. “I’m really proud to be part of the line-up this year. I think that ABC’s line-up is so diverse and I think it does such a great job of portraying what the country looks like and I think it’s so weird that in 2014 it’s such a big deal… I feel that by them (ABC) trying to have this diverse line-up they’re actually being edgy by being real and accurate,” she said.
The creators and cast of Black-ish, a new comedy that follows and affluent African-American family struggling to identify themselves, had similar feelings. Overall show creator Kenya Barris hopes his show will start a conversation about race in America. The cast echoed these sentiments but said that at the end of the day they just wanted to tell a good story and entertain viewers.
Cristela premiers Friday, October 10th and Black-ish debuts on Wednesday, September 24th on ABC. Stay tuned to LaughingPlace.com for full reviews of the new ABC shows this fall.