LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Black characters get more television time than other minorities but they tend to be relegated to sitcoms, a study released Tuesday found.
"Despite the large number of African Americans on television, they continue to be 'ghettoized,"' according to the study from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Black characters were more likely to appear in comedies, with 39 percent of all black characters in sitcoms compared to 31 percent for whites, 23 percent for Hispanics and 21 percent for Asians.
One of the least-watched networks, UPN, featured the most black characters, the study said. Blacks represent 28 percent of the characters on UPN series, compared to about 12 percent on other networks.
More than half of all black characters who appeared on the screen for more than 10 minutes per hour of programming were on UPN and most appeared on two nights, Monday and Saturday. The latter is the least-watched TV night.
CBS was the network with the second-largest percentage of all African American characters, 17 percent.
Other minorities have their own cause for complaint, the study found. Black and white characters combined represent 92 percent of all prime-time characters in the study but constitute 82 percent of the U.S. population, it said. That left scant room for other ethnic groups.
Hispanics were the most underrepresented group in prime-time television, accounting for 2 percent of all characters although they make up 12.5 percent of the national population.
Asian Americans comprised about 3 percent of all characters, and American Indians were "invisible," according to the report.
The networks have been under pressure from civil rights group since 1999, when a mostly white lineup of new shows aired.
But there has been scant movement toward real programming diversity, said Darnell Hunt, the study's author. "Much of the promise of change on behalf of the networks has been lip service to appease people," said Hunt, director of the UCLA Center for African American Studies.
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