President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in ‘Scandal’ (New York Post)
Happy Friday! Ready for Part 2? (If not, catch up on all the interracial couples of broadcast TV over the past five years, and then come on back!) Here’s the fun part: seeing the data play out in graphs!
First off, here are the basic data tables. Here are the number of new shows and total shows per season per network:
New Shows and Total Shows per Season per Broadcast Network (Sex & Stats)
Those look like relatively big numbers, right?
Here are the number of shows per network per season that featured interracial couples:
Number of Shows Featuring Interracial Couples per Season per Broadcast Network (Sex & Stats)
There are too many zeroes in that table.
And here’s how the numbers on the interracial couples translate for the percentages of new shows and total shows:
Percentage of New and Total Shows Featuring Interracial Couples per Season per Broadcast Network (Sex & Stats)
Interracial couples were never part of more than 25% of new shows, and 10% of total shows in any given season. Sad, right?
Next, I wanted to find the breakdown of interracial couplings by season, to see if any one season featured more of one coupling than for others. Here’s the table for that:
Interracial Couples Breakdown by Season, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)
And the resulting line graph:
Interracial Coupling Types on Broadcast TV, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)
You may be wondering what that massive spike is at 2012-2013 (I know I was). That was when “The Mindy Project” debuted on Fox, and Mindy Lahiri dating all the white guys really skewed that sample.
Other than that, you can see that the most common racial combinations depicted were white and Black/African-American, and white and Latino/a. Without the spike, I’m betting that the white/Asian combination would’ve fallen somewhere in the middle. South Asian/East Asian couples were rare, as was one coupling with a mixed-race person. (Crazy that a mixed-race person on TV didn’t come around until Tracee Ellis Ross in “Black-ish.”)
I was also curious to see how depictions of interracial couples broke down by network. Here’s that table:
Interracial Couples Breakdown by Network, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)
And what it looks like in bar-graph form:
Number of Interracial Couples per Broadcast Network, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)
ABC led the charge with White/Black couples, and Fox clearly dominated with the White/Asian combination. ABC also had the broadest range of interracial relationships depicted. CBS showed the most White/Latino couples.
Even though strides have been made in depicting interracial relationships (in quantity, at least), there’s clearly still a long way to go in getting equal representation.