FOX: A step backwards

GLEE’s Naya Rivera and Lea Michele

Last year, Latino actors had something like a foothold in Fox programming.  There was Alcatraz with Jorge Garcia, Breaking In with Odette Annable, who was just finishing an arc on FOX’ House, even the animated Napoleon Dynamite had the voice of Efren Ramirez, while creator/writer Roberto Orci’s Terra Nova was a potential flagship.

This year…Alcatraz, Breaking In, Napoleon Dynamite, and Terra Nova are all gone. House has finally retired. And none of the three new sitcoms (The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate in the fall, The Goodwin Games in the spring) or two new dramas (The Mob Doctor, The Following) have any Latinos visible in front or behind the camera. A pretty light return on investment in sixteen pilots, five of which had Latinos like Mercedes Ruehl, Victor Rasuk, Camille Guaty, and David Barrera in the mix. But none of the five pilots made it through.

That leaves Naya Rivera and Lea Michele on the fading Glee as the only Latinas in a scripted series, and the half-out-the-door Jennifer Lopez as one of the judges on the equally labored American Idol. And that’s it for the year.

A big step back for FOX, and a loss for Latino entertainers and the audience as well.