Diversity Report Card: HBO

HBO (2)

Like most people, I love HBO (especially on Sunday nights)! But does the network do a good job of casting Latin talent in front of the camera?

Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of the funniest shows on TV, and, in my opinion, Larry David is always right (don’t tell anyone I said that). But I find it a little bit disturbing that the show’s cast, which includes LD, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and Richard Lewis, is comprised of all White actors. Occasionally, comedian Wanda Sykes make a guest appearance and Vivica A. Fox did appear on about 11 episodes of the show in 2007—but that’s not enough.

And CYE isn’t the only HBO show that features an all-White cast. Flight of the Concords, In Treatment, Bored to Death and Big Love do too. The same thing goes for Entourage with Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Ferrara (though I do appreciate that the show welcomed Latina guest stars Jessica Alba and Jaime-Lynn Sigler in the past). The cast of Hung is also comprised of only White actors (the exception is Boricua actress Alana Ubach, who recurs on the show as Yael Koontz).

Then there’s True Blood. One of my favorite shows of all-time, TB does a great job of casting African-American actors on the show: Two of the leads, Nelsan Ellis and Rutina Wesley, are Black. But when it comes to casting Latinos, the show falls short. In fact, the only Latina to ever appear on True Blood is Valerie Cruz, who played 400-year-old vampire, Isabel, in a few episodes during season 2 (Note: The addition of Mexican actor Kevin Alejandro to season 3 earns HBO major points with me).

There are only two Latinos in lead roles on HBO: Jon Seda, who plays Sgt. John Basilone in the mini-series The Pacific, and Victor Rasuk, who stars in the drama How to Make it in America. Kid Cudi, who is part-Mexican, also has a supporting role on the drama. HBO clearly has a lot of work to do before we can start calling it a Latino-friendly network, but it isn’t all bad; the we appreciate series like True Blood and Treme that really try to diversify their casts.

Final Grade: C-

So tell us, what do you think...

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