Diversity in the reality spotlight


Diversity is back in the spotlight on Reality TV following TEN announcing two casts for upcoming juggernauts Australian Survivor and The Bachelor.

On social media, some have commented on the dominance of “white” cast members.

As a general rule Reality TV is far more multicultural in its casting than other genres, with shows such as MasterChef AustraliaThe Voice, Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor.

And whilst Diversity is about more than just ethnic representation, TEN has boasted how Survivor has had over 15,000 applicants -so it seems unlikely they were short on contenders representing other ethnicities.

In the past producers have told me how cooking and talent shows attract a wider cross section of the community than renovation shows. Kiss Bang Love has managed to demonstrate some diversity, while both Married at First Sight and upcoming SBS series Undressed also adopt a broader interpretation.

In terms of Survivor we probably need to know a bit more about the individuals before rushing to judge, but it’s a good reminder to networks that first impressions mean a lot.

The Bachelor 4c


  1. The priority for casting any show should be for those who make an entertaining show.

    There were a few seasons of Yankee Survivor (from memory Season 13: The Cook Islands and Season 14: Fiji) where those seasons were cast with an equal amount of Caucasian, Asian, Afro-Americans and Hispanics with 5 each (except there were only 4 Caucasian in Fiji due to a pre-show quit) and those casts did not result in the highest quality of seasons. Sure they have their memorable moments but 80% of those seasons were bland)

  2. There are many factors that need to be considered when casting a show, with the most important being if the people cast are good on TV.

    While it would be nice to have a fair and accurate repisentaion of the country in the cast, I don’t want that it interfer with the casting of an entertaining.

  3. Those complaining of whinging, whining and tokenism are behind the times, sorry.

    Australia’s population is rapidly changing and broadcasters, producers and casting directors should be trying to reflect that.

    If you’re used to seeing people who look and think like you in the media, it’s harder to understand what it’s like to miss out on that.

  4. I think the ‘for’ was supposed to be ‘far’ in the sentence “As a general rule Reality TV is for more multicultural in its casting than other genres.”

  5. bettestreep2008

    I don’t see a problem here. I am impressed that there are a few Survivor contestants over 50. This rarely happens in reality shows. My only concern with Survivor is the length of the series. Apparently it will 55 days long and not 39 like the American version. I am guessing they will screen it nightly rather than weekly – just like I’m a celebrity. I’ll give it a go though. It has to be an improvement on the last Aussie version.

  6. tellmywifiloveher

    Casting isn’t easy. There are a lot of variables. I wonder if the multicultural applicants were deemed not suitable for various reasons? As Bender stated, Personality, availability, psychological profile etc.

    Just because there is a new tv show on our screens, it doesn’t mean we don’t have to put a token (insert race here) character on the show just because.

    Stop creating a non issue.

    • It is representative, according to the ABS figures. One “black” (but 0.5 black would be more accurate figure). Need to discount all people who don’t speak or read English. Australia is “multicultural” but not as multicultural as many people think.
      Where would my daughters fit in, being 50% white Australian & 50% Asian (Filipino)? Impossible to tell from photos as they have no “Asian” appearances. How many of those selected are from non-Anglo-Saxon parents? Now I’m going to be called racist. This diversity whining is a real pain.

  7. I’m sure there is a lot of factors other than race to take into account when casting these shows. Personality, availability, psychological profile etc. Survivor looks diverse enough to me. As for The Bachelor, one would think they would cast it to find the right match for Ritchie, taking into account his preferences etc.Really tired of this diversity whinging all the time. Don’t like the look of a show, then don’t watch it! Simples. Remember when the US had the same problem, so they started casting more black actors. Then people whined, oh look a token black character, a token asian character, token gay character, you just can’t please everyone.

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