LOS ANGELES – In the 12 years the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) has issued report cards grading the top four television networks on their efforts to include Asian Pacific Americans in their programming and business dealings, no company has received an F—until now. Fox failed to provide the data the APAMC has consistently requested and which the other networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—have delivered for over a decade. As a result, for the 2011-2012 season, the Coalition had no choice but to give the network a grade of F/Incomplete–the worst grade ever given to any network in the history of the report cards. APAMC Co-Chair Marilyn Tokuda remarked, “This is especially disappointing because Fox had some very positive stories to tell about its diversity initiatives under its new Audience Strategies department.” Added co-chair Guy Aoki, “We require each network to provide the same information every year on a timely basis so we can evaluate them fairly and evenly compared to other networks and to their own past performance. Since Fox did not give us the necessary data, we cannot give them any credit.”
Ironically, the only network to meet the coalition’s challenge from last year to cast at least one Asian Pacific American actor as the main star of a TV show by Fall 2014 was Fox. “The Mindy Project,” created by and starring Indian American actress Mindy Kaling, began airing in September. It emerged from a diverse writers initiative at NBC and is produced by Universal Television, the television studio/production unit affiliated with NBC. The Coalition looks forward to seeing if “The Mindy Project” will flesh out the lead character’s background and provide viewers the opportunity to see her family and learn more about her heritage. “The APAMC began meeting with the major television networks in late 1999 and early 2000 to press for greater diversity for severely underrepresented Asian Pacific Americans (APAs),” said co-chairs Guy Aoki and Marilyn Tokuda in a Coalition statement. “Since then, there have been incremental increases in the number of APA actors, writers, producers, directors and network executives at all four of the networks. But in the 2011-2012 season, the numbers have somewhat stagnated,” they said.