Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


Diana Stover


Latino, Latino representation, Minorities, Primetime TV, Spanish TV, TV Frames

Subject Areas

Mass communication


The purpose of this study was to provide updated data on the Latino portrayals on primetime English and Spanish-language television. Three major contributions of this study are baseline data on the percentage of white actors as well as all racial and ethnic minorities on English-language television, the portrayal of Latinos on both English and Spanish-language television, and the development of five frames that measure the representation of Latino characters. The results of this framing study showed that only 7.4% of the characters in primetime TV on ABC and CBS were Latino. Although the Latino representation in primetime American television was a bit higher in this study as compared to that in previous research, it still does not represent the 17% of Latinos in the U.S. population as a whole. The researcher analyzed weekday primetime television programs—dramas, crime and comedy series—of both English and Spanish-language TV in the first week of May 2016, which was randomly selected. A total of 403 characters were identified from English-language TV and 115 from Spanish-language TV. The different characters in the television shows were coded by ethnicity or race, gender, and their role in the shows. The five frames that were developed to show how Latinos were portrayed are professional, criminal, domestic workers, Latin lover, and Latina threat. The most prevalent frame on ABC and CBS was the criminal frame, and on Univision and Telemundo it was the domestic worker frame.