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Directors Guild Finds ‘Some Progress’ in TV Hiring Practices of Women, Minorities

The television industry has made some improvements in the hiring of women and minority directors, a new report from the Directors Guild of America shows.

The report, released Tuesday, shows the percentage of episodes directed by ethnic minorities rising by 3 percentage points to a record 22% of all episodes, while the percentage directed by women went up 4 points to 21% of all episodes, another all-time high.

“While this report, and our recent report on hiring of first-time TV directors, reflect some progress overall, there are stark disparities among the major studios that raise questions about how committed to inclusion some employers really are,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme.

The DGA’s annual report on the subject analyzed an all-time high of nearly 4,500 episodes produced in the 2016-2017 television season, up from 4,061 episodes in the prior season.

“We want to make sure that every talented individual has an equal shot, and a path forward,” Schlamme added. “But for that to happen, employers must expand their hiring processes to discover the world of capable directors hiding in plain sight. Frankly, it’s hard to understand why they’re not doing more. Even if all the right reasons are not enough for them, they should at least be motivated by the bottom line – inclusion just makes good business sense.”

The report is being released five months after Schlamme succeeded Paris Barclay as DGA president. He’s won nine Emmys and three DGA Awards and teamed with Aaron Sorkin on directing and executive producing “The West Wing,” “Sports Night,” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

Fox, CBS, NBC Universal and Amazon held the top four spots in the hiring of diverse directors, with Fox leading the way overall and in the hiring of minority directors. Amazon led in the hiring of women directors, but took the second to last spot in the hiring of minority directors.

Disney/ABC, Warner Bros., and HBO ranked in the middle with HBO strong in the hiring of women directors, the studio was also in the bottom third in the hiring of minority directors. Sony, Viacom and Netflix hired the lowest percentage of diverse directors.

Minorities directed 1,006 episodes, a gain of 28% or 223 more episodes than in the 2015-2016 season, and the total number of individual minority directors employed in episodic television grew 46% to 205.

Women directed 955 episodes, up 36%, and the total number of individual women directors employed in episodic television grew 45% to 262. The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males decreased to 62% from 67% but the actual number of episodes went up by 32 to 2,749.

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