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Sexism Watch: Hollywood Reporter Showrunner Roundtable

by Melissa Silverstein
June 1, 2011 3:12 AM
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Last week I posted a trailer from a new documentary about showrunners where I called attention to the fact that they did not include a single woman in the trailer. The site received a comment from a person affiliated with the film who said they needed to make a deadline and the footage of the couple of women they interviewed was not able to be included. I very much appreciate the comment from Ryan but this just illustrates for me the problem. That including women is an afterthought. Integrating women and women's voices should be a mandate.

This needs to be a part of the thinking at all levels of the business. And it's not. Women don't get jobs, make less money than men with the same titles and in general are not treated equally. The Writer's Guild recently released a report showing the women make up 28% of the TV writers.

That's why these kinds of trailers matter. That's why awards matter and that's why competition in film festivals matter. And that's why when I see a piece like the one in the Hollywood Reporter which is entitled "Emmy Roundtable: Drama Showrunner" which features six men it makes my head explode. And the subheader reads: "We gather the top creatives behind TV's biggest shows."

With all due respect to the men they gathered I hardly would call Southland (John Wells) or Men of a Certain Age (Mike Royce) or Sons of Anarchy (Kurt Sutter) three of the biggest shows on TV. And what, are there no women who run dramas? What about Michelle King who co-runs The Good Wife? What about Veena Sud who runs The Killing? Please don't tell me that there were no women to include. I just don't believe it.

I just don't buy how any credible publication like The Hollywood Reporter can put together this type of group without getting at least one woman if not two in the room. Shame on them.

(PS - I think the woman in the picture is the reporter. How did she feel being the only woman in the room?)

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  • Sue | June 5, 2011 4:45 AMReply

    THE KILLING won best drama at the BAFTA's over Boardwalk, Mad Men and Glee.
    One would think Janice MIn or her editors would know this and put the women who created it up here.

  • Lindsey | June 4, 2011 4:55 AMReply

    I hope this article gets talked about elsewhere as we're preaching to the choir. Ms. Silverstein can you forward this article with the comments bto Janice Min or Nellie Andreeva? It needs to be on a site that men read too. Not that I don't LOVE your site but you get the picture. I would love to see what Daily Beast would do with this. Tina Brown seems pretty enlightened.
    Your site should be syndicated everywhere.

  • zaftig | June 3, 2011 3:56 AMReply

    Can someone send this to Janice Min the new editor at the Hollywood Reporter? She's woefully out of touch. And by the way isn't John Welles the President of the Writer's Guild of America?

  • Leila | June 2, 2011 4:41 AMReply

    Terence Winter is in the middle of production on Boardwalk Empire in NYC and clearly left his show and got on a plane to be in featured in this piece. Being featured here means a good shot at an Emmy nom. All their studios and network made sure they weren't busy.
    The women showrunners were not deemed important enough by THR to be included.

  • Betsy | June 2, 2011 3:18 AMReply

    In response to Sophie there is no way they were too busy. It's like not attending your own wedding! They weren't invited. Hope this gets some traction out in the world. I'm mad as hell...

  • Sophie | June 2, 2011 1:21 AMReply

    There is a possibility that maybe they were too busy to do it.

  • Melissa Silverstein | June 2, 2011 1:11 AMReply

    Send me a copy of the picture to and I will post it. I don't have access to it.

  • S.K. | June 1, 2011 11:17 AMReply

    Brava to Melissa. We become immune to sexism the same as racism.
    Earning of women in TV are at an all time low. I received this same issue in the mail and it gave me a stomach ache to see the photo. Could you please post the picture Melissa? It really says it all.

  • Kelly | June 1, 2011 11:13 AMReply

    Is this what Janice Min is about now that she's the new editor of THR -- flattering men in power and leaving women out? Even if there are only two women with shows in this category why aren't they included in this roundtable? It's sadly blatant. Is this the kind of reporting the entertainment community is going to expect from her from now on? It makes me think everything Roseanne wrote in NY Magazine is true.

  • Kofi | June 1, 2011 9:43 AMReply

    This seems to be one of the end results, or a reflection, of sexism. The big problem isn't that there isn't a women on this panel, it is that there are very few women who could credibly be on this panel. Whatever the chances are of the Killing or the Good Wife winning Best Drama, I would imagine that most of the shows that can credibly win are run by men.

    The problem, as I see it, is that there may be only two emmy worthy dramas with women showrunners, and not so much that those showrunners aren't on a particular panel. There can be a reasonable excuse for why those two weren't on the panel just like, say, Matt Weiner isn't there.

    There is no reasonable excuse why there are only two women showrunners on emmy worthy dramas on tv.

  • Mary Alissa | June 1, 2011 9:41 AMReply

    Thank you for mentioning this. I got my print Hollywood Reporter yesterday and couldn't believe it. It's nomination time at the Emmys and THR is telling me who I should nominate. When Newsweek does their roundtable of Oscar nominees they are already NOMINATED. This feels like the THR is telling me who to vote for. White, middle aged men. Don't they already have a leg up in this business? Why aren't any of the entertainment journalists pointing this out? Did THR get money from the various networks for this piece? It feels truly shady.

  • Becca | June 1, 2011 7:02 AMReply

    This makes me ill. I'm a showrunner. I've won WGA awards. There is no shortage of women to be included in this piece. But nevertheless they were left at home or in their office.
    What do these showrunners have in common?
    They're all men, white, middle aged... one is even the president of the WGA. So you know where his head is at.
    Yet Melissa is the only person so far to make note of it.
    This is what women writers in Hollywood face every friggin day.
    Melissa I hope you will pass this along to your other female journalist buds and get a groundswell going.
    God knows the LA Times will do nothing.
    Melissa you're our only hope!
    Thank you so much.

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