The creator of NCIS: NEW ORLEANS vows his cast will accurately reflect the city’s racial makeup…eventually.
“We are absolutely aware and cognizant of the demographics of the city,” producer Gary Glasberg tells me.
Glasberg attended the CBS portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Thursday to promote the show starring Scott Bakula, Lucas Black and Zoe Mclellan with a panel that included only one black actor, C.C.H. Pounder.
As of 2010, 60.2 percent of the New Orleans population is African American.
“As we cast guest [stars] and other actors coming in, we are extremely aware of that and open to everything,” Glasberg assured. “So there is nothing deliberate happening. It is about being as accurate as we can and doing it as well as we can.”
Glasberg — whose mother grew up in the south — insists the series will also show more of the Crescent City than just Mardi Gras and post-Katrina devastation.
“When we were doing the initial episodes as part of NCIS, we tried to capture as much of the iconic imagery as possible,” he says.
“We hit the landmarks. We jammed as much into those two hours as we could. One of the goals now is to dig into those other neighborhoods and really get into the flavor and the culture of what New Orleans is.
These are people who have enormous pride in what the city is and in being members of it and we think about that every single day. The passion people have for their city I have never encountered anywhere else in the U.S.”
“There is a line in the spin-off episode [of NCIS] where someone says ‘New Orleans doesn’t forget, it forgives.’ That is a real line that someone actually said to me at the airport and I quickly jotted it down on my hand. But I think our goal is to embody that kind of connection to the city and make sure it comes through in all the characters.”
NCIS: NEW ORLEANS premieres September 23 on CBS.
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