DGA Stats on Directing TV Show A White Male Dominated World

by Melissa Silverstein
September 15, 2011 4:33 AM
9 Comments
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The DGA released a report this week on who directs TV shows and the news is abominably bad for women and people of color.

Of the 2,600 episodes analyzed of scripted series for the 2010-2011 season (which comprise of over 170 series), white males directed 77% of all the shows. White women directed 11% and women of color only 1%. The numbers women were the same from the previous season.

Breaking it down a bit further, white men directed 80% of all one hour shows and 74% of half hour series.

While there are some good news including the fact that when a show has a female creator or showrunner they hire more women, the bad news is first. There are some shows that go through an entire season and don't hire a single woman to direct. How is that possible?

Here's what director Lesli Linka Glatter who co-chairs the diversity committee at the DGA said about the problem: "We’ve heard the excuses from those responsible for hiring that they don’t want to take a chance on a new director.  But the truth is that the industry hires new directors all the time; it’s just that most of them are white males.” 

So true. 130 new directors were hired last season and 78% were white men.

Here are the horrible offenders and did not hire a single woman director all season long. They include:

• Bored to Death (HBO) – 0%
• Burn Notice (TVM Productions/Fox) – 0%
• Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) – 0%
• Fringe (Warner Bros.) – 0%
• iCarly (Uptown Productions/MTV/Viacom) – 0% 
• Justified (Woodridge Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 0%
• Leverage (Leverage Productions) – 0%
• Victorious (Uptown Productions/MTV/Viacom) – 0%  
• Weeds (Weeds Productions) – 0%

The female creators (if they are still with the show) and showrunners of the shows listed above (and because I don't have access to a full list I don't know how many there are) should be ashamed of themselves for not hiring women. Showrunners have the power to hire and for women not to hire women is just unacceptable. It has to be said. Women, you must hired women. I know that Weeds has a female showrunner in Jenji Kohan and if there are other female showrunners on the above listed shows, I'd like to know who they are.

It's also so unacceptable that female centric shows like iCarly and Fringe have not had a female director all season. Fringe is about a woman FBI agent and you can't bother to hire a single female director? You can have a female who kicks ass on screen but not a woman behind the scenes?

The list below are the shows that just completed their first season and hired a pathetic number of women directors (if they hired any at all)

"WORST OF" First-Year Series
• Franklin & Bash (Woodridge Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 0%
• Hot in Cleveland (King Street) – 0%
• Nikita (NS Pictures) – 0%
• Teen Wolf (On Site Productions/MTV/Viacom) – 0%
• Melissa and Joey (Prodco) – 3%
• Raising Hope (Fox) – 5%
• Breakout Kings (Fox) – 8%
• Harry’s Law (Bonanza Productions/Warner Bros.) – 9%
• Hawaii Five-0 (Eye Productions/CBS) – 13%

I don't know how the fuck that the people who produce Hot in Cleveland can get up in the morning after this is released. If it wasn't for women that show wouldn't exist. That show is a full on estrogen fest. And not to hire women...pathetic. And I hope that Kathy Bates says something to her producers cause that show should surely have more women directors. It's not that shows that don't star women have a right not to hire women but the shows that star women have to get on board. This is too important a deal. We need some fucking serious affirmative action here.

Here are the shows have less that 15% women or minority directors:
• House (NBC) – 4% - Female co-creator
• The Office (NBC) – 4%
• CSI (CBS) – 5% - female co-creators
• Supernatural (NS Pictures) – 5%
• Good Luck Charlie (It’s a Laugh Productions) – 6% 
• Army Wives (ABC) – 8% - female creator
• Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – 9%
• Bones (Fox) – 9%
• Cougar Town (FTP Productions/ABC) – 9%
• Desperate Housewives (ABC) – 9%
• True Blood (HBO) – 10%
• Dark Blue (Horizon Scripted Television) – 10%
• Castle (ABC) – 13%
• NCIS (CBS) – 13%
• Modern Family (Fox) – 13%
• Gossip Girl (Warner Bros.) – 14%

The report noted that in the past  Burn Notice, House and Army Wives in the past had a good record of hiring women and had a decline this past year.

The GOOD News 

Eileen Heisler and DeAnne Heline are my new favorite people. These women win one of the awards for hiring the most female directors (63%) for their very funny show The Middle. I also know that Pamela Fryman directs most of the episodes of How I Met Your Mother. But top honors goes to Jacque Edmonds Colfer who has a 100% female directed show on BET.

Here are the shows that hired women or minority directed for at least 30% of the episodes.
Title (Production Company) – Percentage:
• The Middle (Warner Bros.) – 63% Female creators and showrunners
• Hung (HBO) – 60% - female co-creator and showrunner
• In Treatment (HBO) – 54% - female creator
• 90210 (CBS) – 45%
• Treme (HBO) – 45%
• The Good Wife (CBS) – 39% - female co-creator and showrunner
• Drop Dead Diva (Woodridge Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 38%
• CSI: NY (CBS) – 36%- female showrunners?
• Private Practice (ABC) – 36% - female creator and showrunner
• Rules of Engagement (Montrose Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 35%
• Nurse Jackie (Nurse Productions/Lions Gate) – 33% - female creator and showrunner
• Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – 32% - female creator and showrunner
• CSI: Miami (CBS) – 32%
• In Plain Sight (NBC) – 31%
• Mad Men (U.R.O.K. Productions/Lions Gate) – 31%
• 30 Rock (NBC) – 30% - female creator
 
Here are the first year shows that hired women:
• Let’s Stay Together (Breakdown Productions/BET) – 100%  - female creator and showrunner
• Are We There Yet? (AWTY Productions) – 86%
• Pair of Kings (It’s a Laugh Productions) – 50%  
• The Walking Dead (Stalwart Films/Stu Segall Productions) – 50%
• The Killing (Killing Productions/TVM Productions/Fox) – 46% - female creator and showrunner
• Body of Proof (Paige Productions/ABC) – 33%
• Pretty Little Liars (Horizon Scripted Television) – 33% - female creator and showrunner

DGA gives TV producers failing grade on hiring women, minorities (LA Times)

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9 Comments

  • carlos gonzalez | March 27, 2012 9:20 AMReply

    best tv shows or movies to see if it is with white hispanic actors make it with white if it is black make it with blacks it makes for a good idea?

  • carlos gonzalez | March 27, 2012 9:09 AMReply

    white according to latinos is anybody who is white with good hair. hollywwood idea of a white person is somebody blue eyes and blonde hair. Hollywood wake up?????

  • Uzo Uzo | September 24, 2011 11:44 AMReply

    We are seeking ASAP a director for a TV film. Major cable network is interested in seeing a female director attached to this project. It is a family drama. Shooting will be in New York or California. Prospective applicants MUST have a reel of sample work and proven experience and track record on TV feature directorial effort. Salary - $50,000
    Email only: uzo360@gmail.com

  • Alice Charles | September 17, 2011 11:38 AMReply

    And TV execs wonder why viewer numbers are dropping... The episodes of The Wire directed by Ernest Dickenson were among the best TV I've ever seen. When are TV execs goping to learn, it's not a matter of being liberal minded, it simple common sense - women and so-called minorities bring something else to the table. And that something else is sorely needed in a time of declining audience numbers.

  • Kia | September 16, 2011 11:33 AMReply

    This is truly an important stat... please don't stop at this one post!

  • stephanie rosenfeld | September 15, 2011 11:40 AMReply

    Righteous rant, Melissa. Thank you!

  • Linn D. | September 15, 2011 8:35 AMReply

    "How I Met Your Mother"
    Series Directed by
    Pamela Fryman (128 episodes, 2005-2011)
    Rob Greenberg (6 episodes, 2006-2010)
    Michael Shea (2 episodes, 2008-2011)
    -according to Imdb.com
    (and Neil Patrick Harris directed the musical episode)

    Gotta give Carter Bays and Craig Thomas props for that. And get this, they were writers on the "Late Show with David Letterman." (a genre that is notoriously short on female writers and directors) I think the more we praise the showrunners who hire women, that too, will encourage better behavior from other shows. Sometimes praise rather than criticism gets us what we want...

  • Emily Abt | September 15, 2011 7:41 AMReply

    Thanks so much for writing this Melissa! I shadowed on a few shows - Law and Order, United States of Tara, Numbers - but sadly never got offered an episode. I was told that the line was too long and that I'd have a better shot after my next feature - ugh.

  • Bridget | September 15, 2011 6:51 AMReply

    I LOVE this. Keep up the good work letting people know about all the unacceptable nonsense going on in entertainment.

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