Updated Feb 19, 2022 - Economy

Why Latino shows are often quickly canceled

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

On the rare occasion they’re greenlit, TV shows by and about Latinos have an unusually short lifespan.

The big picture: Latinos are avid TV, streaming and film consumers but are rarely featured on screen or behind the scenes. Over the last couple of years, Latino-led shows that garnered rave reviews and had loyal followings have been canceled quickly, leaving fans and advocates for Latino representation discouraged.

  • Part of the problem is the lack of diversity among executives and the limited opportunities Latinos have to gain the experience needed to create and run shows, actor and director Eva Longoria tells Axios.

Driving the news: The Nickelodeon cartoon “The Casagrandes,” about the dynamics of a multi-generational Latino family that lives under one roof, will not be renewed after its third season finishes airing this year, Axios has learned.

  • Its characters will continue to appear on “The Loud House,” the show it was spun-off from, according to a network spokesperson.

What they’re saying: Hollywood is “not built to welcome people who don't have experience, and traditionally, people of color, especially Latinos, have not been in a place where they can get that experience,” Longoria says.

  • Longoria, a longtime advocate for Latino representation, is also the co-founder of Poderistas, an online community created by Latinas for Latinas that aims to harness their power.
  • "I wish the gatekeepers would give more time to see something grow, but in this moment, content is moving so fast and so they don't have time to let it sit," Longoria says. “Let’s change the gatekeepers."

Several other factors impact a new TV show's success, including what kind of platform it airs on and how much money is in production and marketing budgets, says Ana-Christina Ramón, the director of research and civic engagement at the UCLA College of Letters and Science.

  • Broadcast networks have higher standards for ratings, and fewer Latinos than non-Hispanic whites and Black Americans watch broadcast anyway, so a Latino-led show might not perform as well there.
  • Streaming is where it's at: It's how Latinos consume most media, and where giants like Netflix are constantly looking for content.
  • But Latino shows simply aren't getting enough leeway to grow audiences and prove their appeal, both Ramón and Longoria say.
  • Ramón said there's so many examples of shows with white casts that have low ratings but stay on air for five or more seasons. "But when a 'Latino' show gets on the air, it's under a magnifying glass," Ramón says.

What to watch: Podcasts may be a new frontier for Latino content, the Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Among the most notable was the smash hit podcast "Anything for Selena."
  • A study by Nielsen found the number of Hispanic podcast listeners has grown at a higher rate than that of white listeners.

Editor's note: This story originally published on Feb. 17.

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