TELEVISION: Pilot Season Goes Diverse!

Four of the top-rated pilots coming out of this year’s pilot are notable for their diversity – marked a noticeable change from the last few years. And we’re only halfway through pilot season.


J.J. Abrams’ new spy series for NBC, Undercovers, for example features an African-American couple – played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw [pictured] and Boris Kodjoe – as its married spies. It’s also the first pilot Abrams has directed since Lost, making Undercovers one of the event pilots of the year.

The as yet untitled spinoff from CBS’ much despised [in some quarters] Criminal Minds stars Forest Whitaker as the leader of the new team of FBI profilers; Fox’s action-drama pilot The Breakout Kings stars Laz Alonzo and Six Feet Under’s Freddy Rodriguez has the lead in CBS’ CIA drama from Brett Ratner, Chaos.

Last season’s NCIS: LA was the only pilot to feature a minority actor in a lead role and went on to become one of this season’s biggest hits – the first drama to do that. The season before that, there were no minority actors in a lead role in a pilot.