White Papers & Research

White Papers & Research

The Ruderman White Paper on Authentic Representation in TV, 2018

This white paper study examines the state of authentic representation in television, which follows up and expands on our 2016 white paper on employment of actors with disabilities in television by encompassing all television shows aired in 2018.

Key Findings:

  • We explored 284 shows across 37 networks and four streaming platforms, using the 2018 Deadline seasonal schedule guide and the Watchdog Scorecard.[1]
  • Among network television, 22% of all characters with disabilities were portrayed authentically by an actor with the same disability. This percentage included 45 authentically represented characters with disabilities across 33 shows.
  • Among streaming services, 20% of characters were authentically portrayed by actors with disabilities. This percentage included 11 authentically represented characters with disabilities.
  • Together, the final count of authentically represented characters for 2018 was 56, with an average of 21.6% of characters being portrayed authentically across networks and streaming services.
  • Data for the top 10 network TV shows for 2018 compared to top 10 shows in 2016[2] indicates progress in authentic casting in the past two years. In 2018, 12% of all characters with disabilities were authentically cast[3], marking an increase from the 5% representation rate found in 2016.

Published on January 29th, 2020 

Read more in the Ruderman White Paper on Authentic Representation in 2018 in full:


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