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Minority Women Directed Only 2% of All Primetime Television Episodes in 2012-2013 Season, DGA Report Finds

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire October 2, 2013 at 4:16PM

Minority women directed only 2% of all primetime television episodes during the 2012-2013 season, a new Directors Guild of America survey concluded. The findings are shocking, but, sadly, not surprising in an industry which still lacks diversity both in front of and behind the scenes.
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HBO "Girls" Among DGA "Best" List for Women and Minority Directors

Minority women directed only 2% of all primetime television episodes during the 2012-2013 season, a new Directors Guild of America survey concluded. The findings are shocking, but, sadly, not surprising in an industry which still lacks diversity both in front of and behind the scenes.

The DGA analyzed more than 3,300 episodes produced during the 2012-2013 network television season and 200 episodes from the 2012 cable television season and found that Caucasian males directed 72% of all episodes; Caucasian females directed 12% of all episodes; minority males directed 14% of all episodes and minority females directed 2% of all episodes. Caucasian males directed 74% of all one hour series' episodes and 70% of all half-hour series.

There was slim improvement from last year's report with a very slight increase for Caucasian females (from 11% to 12%) and minority males (from 13% to 14%), but the percentage of episodes directed by minority females decreased from last year's 4% to 2%.

This is the third year that the DGA has analyzed the diversity of hiring practices for episodic television. The diversity hiring statics have remained virtually unchanged since the study began three years ago. For the first time ever, this year's report also includes high-budget original content shows made under a DGA agreement for the internet, such as "House of Cards," "Arrested Development" "Hemlock Grove" and "Orange is the New Black." Pilots were not included in the statistics.

The DGA "Worst" list highlighted shows which hired no women and no minorities, and the list is surprisingly long: "After Lately," "The Exes," "Falling Skies," "Hemlock Grove," "Hot in Cleveland," "iCarly," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Maron," "Sullivan & Son," "Supernatural," "Underemployed," "Workaholics" and "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous."

The list of shows that hired women or minority for under 15% of episodes is also very long and includes shows like "Nurse Jackie," "The Mindy Project" and "Scandal," which feature fairly diverse casts.

Shows that made the "DGA Best" list for hiring women or minority directors for at least 30% of episode includes cable shows such as "The Newsroom," "Girls," "Treme," "Sons of Anarchy" and "Suits" as well as network fare like "Grey's Anatomy," "Nashville," "CSI: NY," "30 Rock" and "The Middle." A few shows actually boast 100% women and minority directors: "The Game," "The Hustle," "The Real Husbands of Hollywood" and "The Rickey Smiley Show."

"I applaud the shows whose diverse hiring practices landed them a spot on our 'Best Of' list. Some of them have clearly made a big commitment to diversity, and I think they've been well-served by it. I'd even point out that many of the most acclaimed and honored television episodes of the year were directed by a woman or a minority," said Betty Thomas, Co-Chair of the DGA National Board’s Diversity Task Force and DGA First Vice President. "But we can't ignore the shows on our 'Worst Of' lists -- 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?"

We're wondering the same thing.

Meanwhile, additional data on the more than 200 series included in this year's report can be found on the DGA website.

This article is related to: TV, DGA, Diversity, News, Television





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