CBS' track record for casting Latinos as regular members of their half-hour and hour-long scripted programs has been dismal for years; it certainly wasn't brightened by the short-lived and controversial appearance of "¡Rob!" last season. And the initial scan of series set for 2012-13 brought no good news: "CSI Miami," with Adam Rodriguez and Eva La Rue solidly in place, was gone, leaving – it seemed – Cote de Pablo on "NCIS" as the only regularly appearing Latino on the network.
However, if you look a little harder you'll find two other Latinos working week-to-week on new CBS hour-long dramas:
Felix Solis will be a regular on "Made in Jersey," the new legal drama about a street-smart woman in a high-powered Manhattan law firm (kind of a "Skirts" version of "Suits"). Solis was part of CBS' ill-fated cop drama "NYC 22," and had a recurring role on "The Good Wife." He'll be part of the cast when it premieres on Friday, Sept. 28 at 9/8C.
Award-winning actor Manny Perez (pictured) will be part of the supporting cast of "Elementary," CBS's heavily promoted contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes, starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu (yes, a female Asian Dr. Watson). Perez, with deep ethnic roots in the Dominican Republic, received an ALMA Award in 2006 for his work in "Bella," and is the recipient of a number of awards from film festivals across the country and around the world. He was part of the cast of "Third Watch" and "Rescue Me;" more recently he's been a guest star on a wide range of CBS hour-long dramas, from "Cold Case" to "Person of Interest" to "Blue Bloods."
There's also a fourth possible continuing role for a Latino–Tracy Vilar, who may or may not have a regular supporting role in David Krumholz' new sitcom "Partners."
At first, it looked as if CBS was actually doing worse than its already poor performance in making room for Latinos in front of the camera. Now, with the (under-promoted) additions of Solis and Perez, they're back to approximately the same level. This time last season, CBS had two shows with three Latinos in them, and "¡Rob!" not yet on the radar. Now we have three shows with three Latinos in them (and a possible fourth), with "¡Rob!" already a fading memory.
In short: treading water…but that's better than sinking.