Derrick Johnson NAACP president/CEO

By Tribune Staff

NASHVILLE, TN — CBS has frequently been accused of lacking diversity at the top in terms of the people running TV shows and film properties. They’ve done a bit better in recent years in terms of casting, but still often lag behind the other networks in terms of on-camera stars. The network is now trying to do something about that. Last week CBS Television Studios announced a multi-year partnership deal with the NAACP to develop and produce unscripted, scripted and documentary media for television and streaming platforms.

CBS Television Studios’ creative leaders will work with the NAACP to “establish a dedicated team of executives and infrastructure to acquire, develop and produce programming,” according to a joint press release. “The partnership will focus on producing premium content that expands the number of diverse voices contributing to an ever-evolving society, and by telling inclusive stories that increase the visibility and impact of Black artists in a growing media landscape.” The deal also includes “a commitment to develop content for the CBS Television Network as well as the ability to sell programming to third-party platforms across the media landscape.”

“An important way to diversify and grow our storytelling is to expand our horizons beyond the traditional studio-producer system,” said George Cheeks, President and CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group, in an additional statement. “There is no better partner than the NAACP – the preeminent civil rights organization in our country – to help us find, develop and tell these inclusive stories. “At the same time, this is a strategic opportunity for CBS to build upon as well as re-imagine our pipeline for existing and emerging creative talent.”

“In this moment of national awakening, the time has never been better to further tell stories of the African American experience,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, in a separate statement. “Programming and content have the power to shape perspectives and drive conversations around critical issues. This partnership with CBS allows us to bring compelling and important content to a broad audience.”