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Scripps Study Touts Its Nets’ Diversity

5/30/2006 5:26 AM Eastern

Scripps Networks’ cable channels reflect a wide spectrum -- in terms of gender and race -- in their programming, with their promotional segments showcasing more diversity than their actual shows, according to a study.

Scripps collaborated with a group of students at the University of Tennessee to measure the representation of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other people of color on Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY and Fine Living by examining how these individuals were seen throughout shows and promotional programming.

The study showed that the networks did well in terms of reflecting a fair balance of males and females and in featuring people of color in a variety of nonstereotypical roles.

The study also concluded that the networks' promotional segments showcased more diversity than their actual programs.

HGTV had a 21% average of representation of black, Hispanic and Asian show hosts. Food scored a 51% average for people of color who appeared as common guests. Fine Living averaged 27% for nonwhites appearing as experts.

While all of Scripps Networks’ services strived for a balance in gender representation, DIY targets a male audience, which was reflected by the 71% total of male solo guests.

"This reinforces that our efforts across all of our networks to reflect daily in our programming the diverse nature of our population,” Ellen Ryan, vice president of Scripps Networks research, said in a prepared statement. “And, most important, viewers see these real people of color in nonstereotypical roles."

The study was conducted over a four-month period by seven students who watched 293 programs and 222 promotional announcements created by the networks.

"Our decision to conduct a self-imposed survey to judge the diversity of our programming initiated from our internal diversity committee and reinforces our commitment to our core value of improving the diversity in all areas," said Scripps Networks president John Lansing, who also chairs the committee.

"What we learned has provided a foundation for us to build and improve the representation of nonwhite individuals across our networks, building programs to be more reflective of the U.S. population," Lansing added.

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