LOS ANGELES -- On the eve of Barack Obama's election last fall as the first African-American president, television seemed to be leaning toward a post-racial future. In October two prominent cable networks -- CNN and Comedy Central -- began new programs that featured black hosts, a development that was notable because so few current programs on cable or broadcast channels have minority leads.
Five months later both programs -- "Chocolate News," featuring David Alan Grier on Comedy Central, and "D. L. Hughley Breaks the News" on CNN -- have been discontinued. In addition, CW, the broadcast network that regularly features comedies with largely African-American casts, announced in February that it was renewing six popular series, but its two with mostly black performers -- "Everybody Hates Chris" and "The Game" -- were not among them. (The network says it is still deciding their fates.)