Caring Across Partners With Geena Davis’s Institute and USC’s Norman Lear Center To Study Caregiving Representations in Scripted Television

Research Findings Scheduled for Release This Fall

Seven people sitting in a semicircle and smiling at the camera. Among the group are: Seth and Lauren Miller Rogen; cast members of NBC’s “This Is Us” Mandy Moore, Chrissty Metz and Jon Huertas; series executive producer KJ Steinberg; and Caring Across Generations’ Executive Director Ai-jen Poo. Photo credit: Maya Minhas / Caring Across Gen
Seven people sitting in a semicircle and smiling at the camera. Among the group are: Seth and Lauren Miller Rogen; cast members of NBC’s “This Is Us” Mandy Moore, Chrissty Metz and Jon Huertas; series executive producer KJ Steinberg; and Caring Across Generations’ Executive Director Ai-jen Poo.
Photo credit: Maya Minhas / Caring Across Generations

LOS ANGELES—Caring Across Generations, an organization that is changing how we value caregiving in the U.S., has partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project on two studies of representations of caregiving in scripted television. The Institute is examining how caregiving is represented, while the Norman Lear Center is studying how audiences responded to one such depiction. On the heels of President Biden’s recent executive actions to support family caregivers and direct care workers, Caring Across commissioned this research to help advise entertainment industry professionals on care-related storylines and ensure television and film more authentically and holistically represents aging and disability care.

“Chances are you have struggled before to get affordable care for yourself or someone in your life—or you know someone who has,” said Ai-jen Poo, executive director of Caring Across and 2014 winner of the MacArthur “Genius” grant. “It’s such a common experience, but it’s rarely represented in television or movies. Hollywood is uniquely positioned to tell stories that more authentically reflect the essential role that care plays in our lives and drive conversation about one of the biggest issues of our time.”

More than one in five adults in the U.S. provide unpaid care for a disabled family member or older adult in their lives, while more than half of all adults in their 40s are “sandwich generation” caregivers for both children and parents. The U.S. has little to no care infrastructure in place, leaving family caregivers to fill in the gaps and spend, on average, more than 24 hours a week on care. That number is even higher for Black and Latine caregivers.

“As Hollywood strives for more diverse and inclusive storytelling, expanding care representation is inextricably a part of that,” said Lydia Storie, who has developed dozens of projects for major buyers—including Disney, Fox, HBO, Netflix and NBC—and is leading story consulting work at Caring Across. “These studies will help us measure the gap between people’s real-world care experiences and what we typically see on screen, and identify opportunities for creators to bring richer portrayals of care on screen.”

Institute researchers will lead one study that analyzes all scripted series that aired in 2021 and assess the frequency and types of care that appear on screen as well as the demographics of care recipients and care providers depicted. This first-of-its-kind study will track portrayals of childcare, aging and disability care by type of care, such as meal preparation and finance management; setting, such as a nursing facility or a person’s own home; and family or community care structures, such as siblings or neighbors.

“We’re excited to expand on our research into gender norms and caregiving,” said Madeline Di Nonno, president and CEO of the Institute, which recently published a report done in partnership with Equimundo about how long-standing narratives about masculinity shape men’s experiences caring for children in the U.S. “The study will also examine how TV content portrays caregiving support — or the lack thereof — in the form of workplace benefits and government policies, and whether care is framed as an individual or collective responsibility.”

A separate Norman Lear Center study is examining how the prominent dementia care storyline in the final season of NBC’s “This is Us” affected viewers’ attitudes towards care in their lives.

“‘This is Us’ delves into the multifaceted dimensions of caregiving, shedding light on the complex dynamics, challenges, and emotional journeys faced by individuals who assume these roles,” said Soraya Giaccardi, senior researcher at Norman Lear Center. “Through this groundbreaking research, we hope to gain valuable insights into the human experience, the impact of entertainment media on audiences, and to foster meaningful conversations about the often overlooked yet vital aspects of caregiving in our society.”

In addition to an audience survey, the Norman Lear Center research includes an analysis of Instagram, Twitter and Reddit comments related to the series and an accompanying Anthem Award-winning social impact campaign produced by NBC in partnership with Caring Across and Hilarity for Charity.

Both research projects will help Caring Across expand their recommendations for screenwriters and other content creators to portray authentic representations of care and establish a baseline for tracking improvement over time. Caring Across Generations also offers resources, including briefings and consultations with experts, case examples, panel discussions about caregiving and an expanding list of datapoints written specifically for writers and producers.

For more information about care-related story consulting, please contact


Caring Across Generations is a national organization of family caregivers, care workers, disabled people, and aging adults working to transform the way we care in this country so that care is accessible, affordable and equitable — and our systems of care enable everyone to live and age with dignity. To achieve our vision, we transform cultural norms and narratives about aging, disability and care; win federal and state-level policies; and build power amongst the people touched by care. For more information, visit

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media was founded in 2004 by Two-Time Academy Award Winning Actor Geena Davis and is the only global research-based organization working collaboratively within the entertainment industry to create gender balance, foster inclusion and reduce negative stereotyping in family entertainment media. 

The Norman Lear Center is a nonpartisan research and public policy center that studies the social, political, economic and cultural impact of entertainment. Through its scholarship, research and partnerships; its events, publications and outreach to the creative community; and its role in formulating the field of entertainment studies, the Norman Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and practice — and to illuminate and repair the world. For more information on the Lear Center’s research, visit