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NBC Announces Plan to Foster Female Directors in Quest for Gender Parity

With the goal of gender parity in mind, NBC has announced a new annual initiative focused on female directors among scripted series across the Peacock network. “Female Forward,” which will be spearheaded by NBC President Jennifer Salke in partnership with Lesli Linka Glatter, will give 10 female directors an opportunity to shadow up to three episodes of an NBC series and receive an in-season commitment to direct at least one episode of that series.

“It’s been a collective and urgent goal of ours to identify more female directors. We strongly believe women can and should be at the forefront of telling compelling stories, and I hope the guaranteed directing component will have real impact on our shows as well as the industry,” Salke said in a statement.

“Female Forward” is designed to build upon NBC’s already existing talent pipeline programs and will begin with the 2018-19 season. While the program will start on 10 NBC series, the intent is to expand the number of directors and shows in subsequent years.

“It’s absolutely thrilling to help forge a path for female directors in such a meaningful way, and this new initiative is a great complement to our current Emerging Directors Program, which has been one of our tent-pole talent pipeline programs for nearly a decade,” Karen Horne, senior vice president of programming talent development and inclusion, said in a statement. “Our programs have discovered, nurtured and promoted people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers with great success stories, including Sharat Raju, Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling and Lil Rel Howery.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this program will springboard the success of many future female directors and I’m very much looking forward to that future.”

As Linka Glatter puts it, “It shouldn’t be harder for our daughters to direct than for our sons. It should be an equal playing field.” She believes the commitment from NBC Entertainment means a strides can finally be made.

“A program like this is a game changer and it’s an honor to be a part of it,” Linka Glatter says.

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