Down But Not Out Latinos on TV at Year's Beginning

A look at the four networks

By Se Fija!
Published on LatinoLA: January 4, 2012

Down But Not Out Latinos on TV at Year's Beginning

Just a few months ago, the four networks‘«ŰABC, CBS, FOX and NBC‘«Űrolled out an impressive total of 23 scripted shows with Latinos in the lead or supporting cast. NBC led the way with ten programs, both dramas and comedies, that had a significant Latino presence; ABC provided a strong second with eight; while FOX and CBS had only three each‘«Űa particularly poor showing for CBS, a network that programs three hours a night compared to FOX's two hours.

Well, the networks give and the networks taketh away. A significant number of those new series have already been cancelled or are 'on hiatus'‘«Űmeaning they won't be back after the Christmas break, even if they haven't officially been cut. We're beginning the year with 18 shows still on the air (though a couple are in their final season)‘«™and at least a quartet of new Latino entries just a few weeks away.

Let's take a look at the nets and see what's up and what's down:

NBC: Three shows and two arcs are gone; six series remain In the fall, NBC had at least one program featuring Latinos from Monday to Friday, and a couple of nights where a Latino appeared in almost every scripted show of the evening. However‘«™

Eddie Cibrian and "The Playboy Club" was one of the first to go. Not long after, Al Madrigal and "Free Agents" disappeared and almost no one noticed. Most recently, Kirk Acevedo and Elizabeth Rodriguez, along with Maria Bello and a stellar cast, just couldn't make "Prime Suspect" work; its last new episode just came and went. A couple of arcs finished in the fall, too‘«ŰAlfred Molina's amazing turn on "Harry's Law" completed (though Karen Olivo remains), and Mel Rodriguez' security character drifted off "Community" (which, in turn, has been bumped into the unknown as well). So as we tiptoe into 2012:

Aubrey Plaza is still part of the "Parks & Recreation" ensemble

Oscar Nu??ez is still holding down a desk in "The Office"

Josh Gomez has never been better that he's been on Chuck this year ‘«™ for one more season

Karen Olivo continues on the ailing but brave "Harry's Law"

Sarah Ramos is still mothering everybody on "Parenthood"

Danny Pino is a new but an important part of "Law & Order: SVU"

ABC: Seven out of eight still with us...

"Castle" still has the ever-popular Jon Huertas on Monday, Hector Elizondo is hanging in there as Tim Allen's bosom buddy on "Last Man Standing" on Tuesday, Sofia Vergara and Rico Rodriguez are both as visible as ever on "Modern Family" on Wednesday, while Thursday still has Sara Ramirez practicing on "Grey's Anatomy," and Benjamin Bratt heating up "Private Practice."

You won't find any Latinos in Thursday and Friday programming, but Sunday's anchor, "Desperate Housewives," will be back after the holidays, wrapping up its final season, and one of the few bona fide hits of the new year. "Once Upon a Time," is featuring a powerful performance by Lana Parrilla, also on Sundays. The only casualty: Ramon Rodriguez lost his gig as Bosley in the new "Charlie's Angels," a show that many critics dubbed one of the worst of the Fall. But there is more to come: Amaury Nolasco will be showing up on the controversial (and frankly, probably doomed) "Working It" on ABC very soon‘«™like it or not.

FOX: Two out of three ain't bad (or good)...

FOX started the season with low Latino involvement, and is staying about the same (or maybe even improving slightly). It looks as if the new Spielberg sci-fi/survival drama "Terra Nova," with Valentino del Toro as a regular member of its extensive ensemble in front of the camera and Ren?ģ Echevarria as executive producer, will not be back in 2012 (no official word yet). Meanwhile, Odette Anable is a solid new performer in "House"‘«™and at some point she'll be showing up in her second series, Christian Slater's "Breaking In," when it returns.

Meanwhile, Naya Rivera is bigger and badder than ever on "Glee" (whose ratings are fading as we speak), and there are some powerful Latina guest stars scheduled for the new year. And beginning in mid-January, Efren Ramirez and the rest of "Napoleon Dynamite" are being added to the Sunday Night "Animation Domination" roster. So: one down, two up? Still a little thin, but certainly better than most.

CBS: Low and slow ‘«™ but no cancels...

Cote de Pablo is still on "NCIS," Adam Rodriguez and Eva La Rue are sticking with "CSI: Miami," and Monica Raymund moved from a short arc on "Blue Bloods" to a longer (and sexier!) one on the net's most noticed show, "The Good Wife." And then, of course, the Rob Schneider sitcom with a host of Latino supporting characters, including Cheech Marin, will be premiering next month. No cancellations‘«™but CBS wasn't exactly out front to begin with.

We'll be covering the mid-season replacement shows and what's happening on cable in another post or two, but here we are, in the last week of the year: a little down, but not out, and plenty of new stuff‘«Űsome of it even good stuff--over the horizon.

Hey, it could be worse. MUCH worse.

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