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The White Man’s World of TV Directing Seriously Needs to Check Itself

The White Man's World of TV Directing Seriously Needs to Check Itself

The Directors Guild of America hast just published a five-year analysis of the gender and ethnic diversity of first-time directors on scripted TV series. The study reveals that, between 2009 and 2014, of the 479 directors who received their first assignment in episodic television, 82% were male and only 18% were female, with 87% being Caucasian and only 13% being Minority directors.

While this isn’t new news, these read-it-and-weep figures indicate three things: that the status quo that favors white male directors reigns alarmingly supreme, that episodic TV remains a significant area of opportunity to broaden the hiring pool and that change needs to come from the entry-level, where women and minority directors land their first gigs.

The outmoded hiring practices of complacent studios, networks and executive producers — which are the target of this study — are still the biggest albatross for women and minority directors looking to break into the biz.

Another recent study from The Center for Women in Television and Film indicates that women TV directors above the entry-level are, in fact, becoming more prominent, and that this area is fertile ground for growing a more diverse industry. We need to hear different voices. It’s time for the industry to check itself.

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