In a similar lobbying push, in July the National Organization for Women officially changed its pressure focus from legislatures to Hollywood boardrooms, claiming that entertainment industry imagery is now the best way to effect social change. The NAACP quickly followed suit, threatening network boycotts unless the Big Four increased minority representation in their programming. NBC's the first to buck, but Mfume said agreements with the other three networks are imminent.
This entertainment industry push reflects the larger defection of the civil rights movement from the public to the private sector. In recent years, leaders such as Jesse Jackson have peppered industry leaders with the mantra that a minority focus makes good business sense a sentiment repeated by NBC's Wright Wednesday. A big question now facing the TV industry is whether upstarts UPN and the WB network (owned by TIME.com parent Time Warner), which built their viewership largely on minority-oriented programming, will go the way of third political parties that become marginalized once their issues are picked up by major parties.