Guild singles out episodes, finds Caucasian males directed 80%

HOLLYWOOD — The Directors Guild of America has reiterated its criticism of nets for not following through on commitments to improve hiring of minority and female helmers.

“This report reveals that once again the networks have failed to fulfill their good-faith obligation to hire more women and minority directors,” DGA prexy Jack Shea said Wednesday, the day the report was released. “Although for many years we have challenged the industry to open up employment opportunities, it is clear from this report that their commitment to diversity is not reflected in their hiring of directors.”

For the first time, the DGA singled out 826 episodes of the top 40 primetime drama and comedy series during 2000-01 and found that Caucasian males had directed 80%, followed by women, 11%; African-Americans, 3%; Latinos, 2%; and Asian-Americans, 1%.

The DGA said no minority or women directors were hired by “The Drew Carey Show,” “Friends” and “Law & Order” while no minority helmers were hired by “Becker,” “Boston Public,” “Dark Angel,” “Ed,” “Judging Amy,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Providence,” “What About Joan” and “Yes Dear.” No women directors were hired for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “JAG,” “King of Queens,” “My Wife and Kids,” “Nash Bridges,” “The District,” “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “The X-Files.”

It also said that during this season, “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Drew Carey” continue not to hire women or minority directors. “Friends” has hired an African-American for one of 14 episodes, and “Law & Order” has hired a women for one of 12 episodes.

The DGA singled out a quartet that had defied the overall trends during the current season: “Frasier,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Three Sisters” and “What About Joan.”

The report comes nearly three years after a multiethnic coalition issued complaints about the lack of diversity in front of and behind the camera during the fall 1999 TV schedule, then secured pledges from the nets to increase diversity. Since then, the networks have contended they are making significant progress but admit they need to do more.

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