Stephen Colbert and Diversity at CBS

by Greg Pollowitz

What surprises me the most about the news that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as the host of Late Night is the speed at which CBS and Les Moonves made the decision. And from the way the New York Times describes it, Colbert was always CBS’s first choice:

Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, who was the primary mover in getting the deal done, said the negotiations moved at a breakneck pace beginning the day Mr. Letterman announced his plans. Mr. Moonves said a “barrage of calls” immediately came in from representatives of comics seeking the job. But when Mr. Colbert’s agent, James Dixon, called to express Mr. Colbert’s interest, the talks quickly became serious.

Not that I care who CBS picked, but I wonder if Moonves has violated any diversity policy in place at CBS with the hiring of the white, male, and heterosexual Colbert. Where any minorities, women, or LGBT hosts ever seriously considered? 

In the past, Moonves has made statements on the importance of diversity at CBS. For example, he reportedly told students at the University of Miami in a November 2013 visit that:

Diversity is an issue, especially during prime-time shows, while a better job has been done in news, sports and reality shows. 

And Moonves made this comment in January when announcing the promotion of Josie Thomas to that of “chief diversity officer”:

“CBS’ commitment to diversity is a key part of our growth strategy.”

Over to you, Josie. Did Moonves do something wrong or is he just a hypocrite? Let’s see what an investigation turns up.

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