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TV Networks Clarify Racial Stance in Casting

June 3, 1962 - NBC and ABC reaffirmed today what they called their longstanding policy of nondiscrimination in the use of Negro actors on television. The networks’ statements were issued two weeks after CBS had told program producers it would like its programs “to more adequately depict the Negro as he lives in today’s society.” ABC said it encouraged the hiring of the best talent available, regardless of color. Negro actors, it asserted, had played leading roles on many ABC programs, including “Naked City,” “The Rifleman” (pictured), “Ben Casey,” and “77 Sunset Strip.” Three Negroes have been crowned “Queen for a Day,” the network said. The statements of all three networks followed the State Commission for Human Rights’ charge that TV and motion pictures were not presenting a true picture of the Negro on the American scene. In recent weeks, commission members have met with the television industry to discuss the matter.


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