With fall season full of diversity, ABC chief asked why ‘Goldbergs’ isn’t more Jewish
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ABC may be struggling in the ratings, but the network is the clear frontrunner among broadcasters when it comes to diversity in its fall schedule.
From the stars and subject matter of several fall comedies (“Fresh Off the Boat,” “Cristela,” “Black-ish”) to the folks behind the series (ABC just inked a new deal with “12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley and Chicago native Shonda Rhimes officially owns Thursday nights with her hat-trick “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and newcomer “How to Get Away With Murder”), no broadcast net has such a varied mix of voices in its programming.
So why is ABC’s hit sitcom “The Goldbergs,” creator Adam Goldberg’s semi-autobiographical tale about a Jewish family in the ’80s so … not Jewish?
That was the question posed to ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee during TV critics’ summer press tour Tuesday.
The reporter joked that the Jewish tradition of bar mitzvahs will be addressed on “Black-ish” (it’s a plot point in the pilot) before it comes up on “The Goldbergs,” which starts its second season this fall.
“The Goldbergs” stars Chicago comic Jeff Garlin as the yelling-prone patriarch and Wendi McLendon-Covey as the over-involved mother to three kids, including the narrator played by Park Ridge teen Sean Giambrone.
“I don’t think anybody in the country watches ‘Goldbergs’ who doesn’t think it’s a show about a Jewish family; It’s pretty explicit,” said Lee, who was very bullish on the comedy’s prospects for its sophomore season.
“The Goldbergs” was one of last season’s few bright spots for the Alphabet net last season. It and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” were the sold survivors of last season’s crop of scripted freshman shows.
Lee said “The Goldbergs” is Adam Goldberg’s story to tell, and he has no intention of suggesting otherwise to the showrunner.
“We love the way he’s telling that story,” Lee said. “I’m 1,000 percent supportive of him.”