The Block producers deny ‘WASPy’ casting

Producers of The Block have denied their show has been cast with WASPs and says there weren’t enough applicants from other ethnic backgrounds.

Executive producer Julian Cress told the Herald Sun, “For this series, we had just over 1000 applications. Of that 1000, a little under 4 per cent of those were other than caucasian.

“I wish more people would apply to be on the show that were racially diverse. I would love that,” he said.

But last night Scott Cam told the final 4 there were 3000 applicants.

Someone is telling porky pies.

Readers of TV Tonight have also commented on the lack of diversity amongst the show’s cast, which follows from similar casting mixes from Nine shows including homeMADE and Australia’s Perfect Couple. However The Apprentice Australia managed a more diverse mix in 2009.

The Block was one of the first TV shows in the world to cast a gay couple,”Cress said. “In series two we had Italian and Lebanese contestants and last year the show was won by a Greek woman.”

The show’s inclusion of Gav and Waz was indeed ground-breaking. A loving gay couple in a 6:30pm timeslot had never been done before. But the show also had many pin-up couples in its early seasons, reflecting its aspirational and young home-owners tone.

Much has changed since 2003. Reality TV, even more than Drama, represents the melting pot of Australia (for contrast read this article by Mos from The Amazing Race Australia).

It’s time The Block caught up.

37 Comments:

  1. Forget the WASP stuff etc… they are all just dull and none of them can hold my interest … another very poorly cast season of the Block!!! Did they learn nothing last time????

  2. Well I guess if you don’t like the Block, you could always turn over to the multi-cultural melting pots that are the 7PM Project or Home & Away….oh wait

  3. Like Adam of Brisbane, I, Kenny of Sydney, have never heard the term WASP either. We must lead sheltered lives.
    Let’s see – White Australian Something/Straight/Sexy/Stupid ? Person/People/P-Plater?? My 16y/o can’t help me neither.

  4. I would ask channel nine to produce one single example of some one who is asian appearing on any of their shows. One single example. Perhaps some Triads on Rush or something? I honestly can’t think of any nine show that has ever had anyone who wasn’t European being cast in a recurring role in recent years. Aaron Pederson on Water Rats but that’s all I can come up with.

  5. I don’t think there is racism at play here, I just think that Austalian TV producers etc think that being Australian is being white, blond and blue eyed and that’s it.

    The reality is that our TV screens be it drama, soaps, news anchors, current affairs is very WASPY to the point of it being seen as deliberate and not reflecting what Australian society really is.

    We think that having people of European background makes up for it but it doesn’t.

    When we start seeing Asian, Indian, Aboriginal people on TV as just part of normal characters, reporters etc then you know we have progressed as a society,

    Being Australian does not mean only being White -Anglo!!!!

  6. Adam of Brisbane

    What is a WASP?

    Surely i’m not the only reader that doesn’t know? I’d guess white and something person.. single? Stupid?

  7. Secret Squïrrel

    “WASP” is fine, it’s just an initialism (altho’ the ‘P’ is prob not entirely accurate in this case). I also favour diversity but I abhor tokenism more.

    If the overwhelming majority of applicants are young “can-do” white folk from middle Australia, do you go with what will work for the show, or artificially bias the sampling? Ultimately, the producers and the network want a show that will rate as highly as possible for a given cost. It’s the same thinking as with ads for cars or household cleaners or whatever.

  8. Lets face it, reality shows about cooking are the only ones that tend to field a diversity of cultures. It’s not that our networks want to exclude wasps, it’s just that they make lousy cooks.

  9. how about finding some of these ‘diverse’ couples who applied for The Block and do a story on them. Let us make up our mind on facts rather than speculation. I would be interested to see what the applicants were like. Just remember, The Block is grueling. Past seasons show that a couple, no matter what race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, need to be able to handle the non-stop renovation and have an interest. Comparing it to The Amazing Race is hardly fair. More people would be interested in traveling the world than renovating a run down house in Richmond for 2 months.

  10. The twins on the Block said they had never renovated or even painted before. I wonder why they were selected then…
    Clearly casting was not based on ability.

  11. Gees Jason, better not go to America where the population is mostly “Asian , black, Latino” these days. Obviously not been out of the Sydney CBD recently, particularly west and south.

  12. I’m offended at your use of the term WASP, David. If you’re going to deny posts with derogatory or disparaging terms (even when used light heartedly or in an ironic way) at least be a little consistent and refrain from using these terms in articles.

    • Interesting. I wouldn’t use the word if I thought it was socially unacceptable, so I’ll monitor future complaints against your first one. I’m more offended by a lack of diversity, so each to their own I guess.

  13. Well I guess you can make up 1000 of that gap by this theory: 1000 applications = 2000 applicants right? Cause every application has 2 applicants.

    I think they’ve got a point though – they shouldn’t just shoehorn non-Caucasians in for correctness. They are just representing the vast majority of people. Otherwise we end up like American TV or advertising where there almost has to be an Asian character, a black character, a Latino character etc. You see it everywhere from Sesame Street to Dexter.

  14. so it is better to cast someone as a token rather than based on their ability? I’m guessing all those commenting on the lack of diversity are WASPs themselves.
    The final 4 couples this year are hardly pin ups. How about focus on their achievements rather than the colour of their skin or background?
    Look at Waz for example, he has cycled across Australia more than once to raise money for charity. He is skinny and balding but seems like such a nice guy. I think people need to get a grip and look at why they are actually complaining.

  15. Maybe the producer meant they had just over 1000 couples apply, whereas Scott Cam was referring to the total number of people who applies (ie double the number of couples).

  16. Poor old 9. Once an icon of the tv screen. Now there just a mess. This production has nothing on TARA such an awesome cast from the bush boys, the surfer boys, the old big w gals, the ethnic bombshells (ref 2 fighting) etc. As for the block just a bunch of tarts (very Sydney). If I was running 9 not many would have jobs!

  17. Do we still do affirmative action? A random sample of Aussies could produce only whiteys so why make a cheap point here? WASPS are people too.

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