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DGA Report: Women Represent Only 14% of TV Directors

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by Melissa Silverstein
October 3, 2013 11:00 AM
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DGA

The DGA has released its annual report tracking the statistics of directors on episodic TV shows for the 2012-2013 season, and the news is that there is no news.  The numbers have remained pretty static since last year.  In fact they have remained virtually the same for the last three years.  The DGA Diversity committee has held over 20 meetings in the last three years with production companies and shows to deal with diversity.  

So much for things getting better.  

Here's the overview (they looked at 200 shows and a total of 3,300 episodes from major production companies ABC, CBS, Fox, HBO, NBC, Sony, Warner Bros. and other production companies whose shows appear on broadcast, basic cable, and premium cable networks. This year’s report also includes, for the first time, high-budget original content shows made under a DGA agreement for the Internet: House of Cards; Arrested Development; Hemlock Grove; and Orange is the New Black.  Pilots are not included in the statistics.)

  • Men directed 86% of all TV episodes and women directed 14%.  White women directed 12% an increase in one percentage point and women of color directed 2% a decrease of 2%.


From the report:

The most noticeable change from last year’s statistics was the drop in the percentage of episodes directed by minority females from 4% to 2%.  Further analysis shows that the total number of episodes directed by minority females overall is low enough that the cancellation of a single series, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, significantly impacted this figure.  Once again, too many shows also failed to reach even the low threshold of hiring women or minorities for at least 15% of episodes in a season.

There are 38 shows out of 200 that did not hire a women to direct a single episode.  They include many shows about women including: Fringe, iCarly, Nikita, Nurse Jackie and Two Broke Girls.  Rizolli & Isles only had one woman director as did Homeland.  Keep in mind that network shows do about 22 episodes and basic cable about 15 and pay cable about 10, so it is more grievous for a network show not to employ women because there are many more opportunities to do so. 

Shows that hit 25% include: Breaking Bad, Grey's Anatomy (thought this would be higher), and Raising Hope.  Shows above 30% include The Game, Nashville, Smash, Bunheads, The Big C, The Secret Life of The American Teenager, Don't Trust the B, Private Practice, and The Middle.  Not surprisingly, lots of those shows have female showrunners.  Shows with 50% female directors include: Girls and Modern Family, and the winner with 71% female directed episodes is Single Ladies -- 10 of the 14 episodes were directed by women.

Betty Thomas, Co-Chair of the DGA National Board’s Diversity Task Force and DGA First Vice President said of the shows that don't have enough diversity:  

"...how is it possible, in this day and age, that more than a dozen series didn’t hire even a single woman or minority director all season?"

I'd like to know the answer to that question.

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More: Television, Women Directors, Statistics

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1 Comment

  • Les | November 7, 2013 12:10 PMReply

    Studios are having a hard time changing with the times, especially with America's ever changing democracy. Either you change with America, or America and the entertainment industry passes you by.

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