Entertainment

It’s Finally Justina Machado’s Time to Shine

Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, beloved (and not to mention, underrated) actress Justina Machado sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times.

In it, Machado covers everything from her lengthy career, to the sad state of Latinx representation in Hollywood, to the offensive phone call she had with a tone-deaf TV exec in the ’90s.

Finally, after almost 25 years of hard work in Hollywood, Machado is dominating America’s Monday nights with two high-profile gigs: a spot on “Dancing With the Stars” and the return of “One Day At a Time” to CBS after it was unceremoniously dropped by Netflix.

Naturally, with so much on her plate, the Puerto Rican actress in not only mentally, but physically exhausted. After all, “Dancing With the Stars” is notorious for its grueling practice and shoot schedules. “Every day when I come home, my routine is dunking my feet in [an ice bath],” she told the LA Times. “The first week and a half of rehearsals, forget about it–I was crying.”

But Machado is glad that she took the DWTS opportunity for what it means in terms of Latinx representation on network television.

“The thing about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is it reaches so many more homes than [‘One Day at a Time’]…,” she told the publication. “I know they’ve had Latinas on the show, but they need a whole lot more. And so I was like, ‘I’m going to do that. I’m going to be that Puerto Rican woman that’s on that show.’”

Throughout the interview, Machado gets candid about what it’s like to be a Latina in the American entertainment industry–which is an unforgiving business.

She described the beginning of her career as plagued by insecurity. Before she began a professional acting career, Machado was convinced she couldn’t make it as an actor because professional acting “wasn’t a part of [her] world.” “Nobody was an actor in Chicago that I knew, in my neighborhood, in the inner city of Chicago,” she explained.

After she finally established her footing in Hollywood, she was then met with further doors slammed in her face in the form of racism and anti-Latino sentiment.

Like when an executive called her to tell her why her TV show wasn’t moving forward, back in the ’90s.

“He literally called my house, nice man… and said, ‘My God, your pilot is so great. Everybody loves you, everybody. But we don’t think America is ready for a Latino family.’”

What’s depressing about this story is that Latino representation onscreen still hasn’t gotten much better over 20 years later. But Machado is hopeful that the tides of change are turning

“That was acceptable for him to say…Like, what? And that was the ’90s! And look at today. How many Latino families do you see on television? So America better get ready because we’re here. We’re here.” We know that if Machado has anything to do with the future of TV, we’ll be seeing Latino families more and more often.

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‘One Day At a Time’ Has Been Canceled (Again)

Entertainment

‘One Day At a Time’ Has Been Canceled (Again)

Photo by Robby Klein/Getty Images

Fan-favorite sitcom “One Day At a Time” has, once again, been canceled. The rebooted show that centered on a Cuban-American family in Los Angeles originally streamed on Netflix and then moved to the Pop network after Netflix pulled the plug in 2019.

But now, Pop has also decided not to renew the series, disappointing fans everywhere.

Like the first time the show was cancelled, viewers took to social media to grieve. “You know how there are only some jokes that only your Latino friends get?,” wrote one Twitter user. “ODAAT was that one show where we got that humor. Like those conversations with each other where we open up about things we can’t even tell our parents. Mental health, identity, etc. It’s so important.”

Just recently, the show’s producers talked about their plans for the upcoming season. “We have so much more to tell, and especially with everything that’s going on in this world, every day, I’m like, oh my gosh, Elena would say this. Elena would say that. Elena would say this. It’s just ripe with things that this family would be talking about,” producer Gloria Calderon Kellett told Deadline. “This family, we have so much for them to go through still.”

Like in the aftermath of the last cancellation, the cast of the series took to social media to kickstart a campaign to keep the show on the air.

“I can and have written essays on how much this show means to me, but it boils down to #RepresentationMatters and man does ODAAT do that for so many, myself included,” Tweeted actress Isabella Gomez, who played rebellious teen Elena Alvarez on the show. “Maybe we can make magic happen again? Tell us why you want the Alvarez family back with #SaveODAAT”.

Back when ODAAT was canceled by Netflix in 2019, the show fans as well as its fans rallied together to make #SaveODAAT trend. Shortly after the hashtag went viral, the show was picked up by Pop. But Pop was acquired by a different company and it seems like ODAAT has become collateral damage in the merger.

Justina Machado also posted her reaction to the news on Instagram.

Machado expressed her sadness at the turn of events, but also remains hopeful that the show will find a third life somewhere else.

“Sadly, the news is out,” she wrote on Instagram. “And we weren’t so much canceled as we were a byproduct of a business model changing at the channel that bought us.”

“I’m not sad just yet, y’all,” she continued. “We still have some hope for new homes. Hang tight, my loves. You know that if I go down, I will go down swinging for this show (& cast & crew) I love.”

Crossing our fingers that this important show finds the permanent home that it deserves.

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CBS Pledges to Make the Casts of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ 50% People of Color

Entertainment

CBS Pledges to Make the Casts of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ 50% People of Color

Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

CBS just announced that it is committing to making at least 50% of the casts of their unscripted shows Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). CBS also announced that they are devoting 25% of their unscripted budget to BIPOC creators. The changes are expected to take effect in the 2021-2022 season.

“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” said CBS CEO George Cheeks. “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network.”

CBS’s unscripted TV shows include fan-favorite staples like “Survivor”, “The Amazing Race”, “Big Brother”, and “Love Island”. The network has regularly come under fire for failing to cast diverse talent in both their scripted and unscripted programs. Unlike other broadcast networks like ABC (Grey’s Anatomy, literally any other Shondaland show) or NBC (This Is Us, Superstore), CBS has a reputation for white-washing its programming.

Last year, a former CBS Diversity & Inclusion executive wrote an op-ed in Variety accusing the company of having a “white problem”.

“While CBS proudly touts its diversity programs, a close look beneath the surface reveals that the company is unconcerned about creating space for minorities,” wrote Whitney Davis, who is a Black woman. “CBS continues to promote its diversity initiatives in public, while internally minorities are practically invisible.” 

In June of this year, a group of Black “Survivor” alumni created a petition demanding that the stalwart show make 30% of its cast BIPOC. They also asked that BIPOC are given “equitable screen time and opportunities to participate in marketing and promotional events.” The show’s Black alumni alleged that they were ostracized, gaslighted, and short-shrifted while they were contestants on the show. The petition received almost 8,000 signatures to-date.

As is expected, fan reactions have been mixed. Some people are happy that CBS is making the effort to fix the structural problems of their company. But others feel that the commitment is forced and will result in BIPOC cast members being treated as tokens.

This person is confident that CBS’s unscripted shows will simply improve by including more people of color on their cast lists.

If anything, this decision will add some much-needed change to their tired formulas.

This person was ready to submit their application.

Now that people know the playing field is more even, we’re sure that CBS will receive a more diverse pool of applications.

This person has doubts as to how CBS will approach choosing and casting POC.

It’s one thing to talk about diversity, but it’s another thing to actually choose people who represent a range of diverse cultures.

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