New Study Finds Familiar Results: Directing on TV Is Dominated by White Men; Which Shows Are the Least Diverse?

Sep 18, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Updated at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 19, 2014 to change headline to better reflect what the story is about.

While America is increasingly diverse and women make up half the population, those facts are not reflected in who’s behind the camera directing prime-time television episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cites a new study from the Directors Guild of America.

The study found that 69 percent of the episodes in the 2013-14 television season were directed by white men, a figure that’s little changed over the past four seasons.

“And grabbing the first rung of the directing ladder is no easier. Out of 776 directors who directed DGA-covered episodic television in 2013-2014, 108 (14 percent) of those directors were directing episodic television for the first time — but 68 percent of those first-timers were white males,” the story reports.

In a statement, DGA President Paris Barclay said: “Unfortunately, it can be shockingly difficult to convince the people who control hiring to make even small improvements to their hiring practices. People often say, ‘Everybody is responsible for diversity,’ but in the end, that often means that nobody takes responsibility.”

While there was some improvement in the number of male minorities directing episodes, which stands at 17%, that was entirely due to Tyler Perry directing all the episodes of the three TV series that he also produced, the report said.

Ten percent of the series hired no women or minority directors, while 17 percent hired women or minority directors, but they helmed fewer than 15 percent of the episodes. That means about one-quarter of all TV series make the DGA’s “Worst Of” list, with those shows including “Boardwalk Empire,” “Castle,” “CSI,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Supernatural,” among others.

The series with the most gender and racial diversity among directors include “The Game,” “Warehouse 13,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and “Mike & Molly.”


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