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Idris Elba on The Wire (HBO)
Idris Elba on The Wire (HBO)

Now Trending: Idris Elba and friends demand more diversity in British TV industry Add to ...

DIVERSITY, PLEASE

English actor Idris Elba – and a few dozen of his famous friends – have respectfully requested that the British TV industry spend more money on programs for ethnic minorities.

In a firm open letter published Wednesday in The Guardian, the star of The Wire and the U.K. crime drama Luther and his colleagues urge the BBC, ITV and other broadcasters to start putting funds into black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) programming.

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The letter opens with, “We are dismayed at the poor numbers of black, Asian and minority ethnic people both on our screens and working behind the camera.”

Along with Elba, the letter is signed by no fewer than 80 celebrities, including James Bond star Daniel Craig, actors Bill Nighy, Matt Lucas and Emma Thompson and renowned graphic artist Neil Gaiman.

The letter points out that only five per cent of those employees currently working in the U.K. creative industries have minority backgrounds, even though minorities comprise 12.5 per cent of Britain’s total population.

For the record, the letter was written and sent to The Guardian before the recent commitment from British pay-TV service BSkyB to increase their ethnic minority staff – including on-air talent – to at least 20 per cent by the end of next year.

Earlier this summer, BBC director-general Tony Hall made a similar promise to boost onscreen representation of minority ethnic groups from 10.4 per cent to 15 per cent by 2017. Hall also pledged that BBC staffing would increase from 8.3 per cent to 15 per cent by 2020.

But those long-range plans “are not sufficiently radical to effect significant change,” according to the letter.

Instead, “We propose, therefore, a solution that would almost immediately stimulate growth throughout the BAME creative community: a ringfenced pot of money for BAME programs.”

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ringfencing is defined as protecting a particular sum of money by putting restrictions on it so that it can only be used for a particular purpose.

The letter suggests that ringfencing funding for minority programs was a better move than establishing quotas since it would put the focus on “quality of programming, not quantity.”

In the view of letter signees, ringfencing would also “create a more stable space for BAME talent on screen and behind the camera.”

And the letter closes off by saying, “The effect of this fund would be to engender and encourage television that would reflect one of Britain’s greatest strengths – our diversity.”

DANCE FEVER

Julianne Hough will return to Dancing with the Stars, but this time she’ll sit on the judging panel. The dancer and actress, who has won the glitzy reality competition two times, will join the show as a judge on the upcoming 19th season, sitting alongside regular judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. “I’m so excited to be back with my Dancing With the Stars family on a regular basis,” said Hough. Dancing With the Stars returns September 15 on ABC and CTV.

Source: EW

HIGH TIMES

The Fox series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey has already collected four primetime Emmys, but the more telling kudos have been coming from marijuana aficionados. In the past few months, the weekly science lesson hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has earned an honourable mention on the website WeedPornDaily’s “Ultimate Stoner TV Show” list and received a Twitter shout-out from High Times magazine. Cosmos was also recently included in the web-streaming service Hulu’s “Veg Out” showcase.

Source: Yahoo

BREAKING UP?

All signs point to a looming breakup between Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. The New York Post’s Page Six claims the singer and the America’s Got Talent host are currently “living separately.” According to an anonymous source, “He hasn’t been staying at their home, He’s been living out of hotels. They’re fighting a lot.” Carrey, 45, and Cannon, 33, married in 2008 and are the parents of three-year-old twins. Carey was previously married to record executive Tommy Mottola from 1993 to 1998.

Source: New York Post

SKIN DEEP

A woman who appeared on the reality show Dating Naked is suing the show’s producers for alleged indecent exposure. Professional model Jessie Nizewitz, 28, claims that she was repeatedly promised by producers that her private parts would be “blurred out” (or pixilated on-screen) when her episode aired on the U.S. cable channel VH1 last May. But Nizewitz says all those promises were broken and has filed a $10-million (U.S.) lawsuit against Dating Naked’s creators in Manhattan court. “I felt lied to, manipulated and used,” said Nizewitz. “I was horrified.”

Source: New York Post

CASTING CALL

Tony Shalhoub has joined the cast of Nurse Jackie. Best known for his long-running stints on the sitcom Wings and cable series Monk – where he earned three best actor Emmys – the TV veteran will assume the role of Dr. Bernard Prince, an emergency room physician working alongside Edie Falco’s titular Jackie character. Shalhoub’s most recent TV role was on CBS’s short-lived 2013 sitcom We Are Men.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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