How Current Events Are Reshaping TV

As protests against police brutality and racial violence continue across globe, it seems almost silly to think about TV news. However, current events have a direct impact on TV programming–and television, in turn, shapes the conversations we have about current events.

Law & Order SVU
NBC

Here are just a few ways that the conversation in changing.

‘Cops’ Pulled from TV (For Now)

“Cops” and “Live PD” offered viewers the chance to “ride along” with real-life police officers. But as protests against police violence sweep the globe, A&E and Paramount have decided to stop airing new episodes.

Even though “Live PD” is one of the top-rated cable shows in its time slot, A&E has chosen to put the series on hold for now. However, the network is likely to resume broadcasts of new episodes at some point in the future.

‘Riverdale,’ ‘Bachelor’ Stars Speak Out

An actor on the hit show “Riverdale” is calling attention to the way black characters are marginalized. Vanessa Morgan (who plays Toni Topaz) publicly complained about how her character has been treated on the show. She also revealed that she makes less than every other series regular. Showrunner Robert Aguirre-Sacasa has promised to do better.

Over in Bachelor Nation, Rachel Lindsay is calling out ABC for its extreme lack of representation and equality in the cast of the franchise. In 40 total seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” Lindsay is the only black lead.

‘Friends’ Creator Admits to Diversity Problem

friends netflix
The Hollywood Reporter

Marta Kauffman, who co-created the iconic series “Friends,” admitted her regret over the lack of diversity on the show. Despite being set in New York–a marvelously diverse city–the show almost exclusively focused on white characters.

Lisa Kudrow also spoke out about the issue earlier this year, when she claimed that a reboot of “Friends” should look a lot different. She’d like to see a diverse cast of main characters take over the series someday.

‘Looney Tunes’ Says No to Guns

Speaking of reboots, all-new “Looney Tunes” cartoon shorts will air on HBO Max. But there will be one major difference between the new cartoons and the original classics. Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam are giving up their guns in the reboot. Fudd will apparently be using a scythe now.

“We’re not doing guns, but we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in,” executive producer Peter Browngardt told the New York Times.

‘Law & Order’ Promises to Address Police Violence

As protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd continue, TV industry analysts are wondering what role cop shows will play in the future. From comedies like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” to procedurals and dramas, TV is awash in programming that glorifies law enforcement.

“Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight promised to tackle issues of racism and police violence directly in the upcoming season of the show. The upcoming “Hate Crimes” spinoff will also deal with racial tensions in America.