Revealing this during his closing address at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday, where he was in conversation with BBC director of creative diversity June Sarpong, Landgraf said, “We are right on the verge of hiring, what for us will be a senior vice president of diversity and culture who’s going to be an ombudsman, who’s going to be reporting to me, who’s going to be sitting at the table for every single decision we make.”
Landgraf’s address capped a week dominated by diversity and inclusion discussions that were part of almost every panel.
The FX boss began by discussing the process of inclusion and equality at FX that began with a Variety expose written by former TV critic Maureen Ryan, in which FX fared poorly in the diversity stakes. Rather than go on the defensive, Landgraf decided to use Ryan’s analysis to affect real change.
The results have been spectacular. FX now boasts of one of the most diverse workplaces in U.S. television and was honored with the Directors Guild of America’s 2019 diversity award.
Landgraf is quick to acknowledge that the battle is far from over. He said his senior management team is 50% male and 50% female, but it is not as representational of people of color as it needs to be. Part of the problem, he said, is being blessed with stability as the average term of an executive vice president or above is 17 years, meaning there is low turnover at the top.
According to Landgraf’s projections, only 37% of FX directors would be white male by 2021, compared to 85% five years ago.
“Over time, people that look like me have to give way to more women and more people of color in deciding positions,” Landgraf said. “But I can tell you that I and the entire FX organization feels a lot better for having woken up, gotten about the business of working on this. I don’t think we’re there, we’re in the process of change, but we’re not nowhere. We’re not at the very beginning, we’re at least in it now. It feels good.”
“When Variety is saying you’re the worst in class, that’s not a great place to be, but actually action can quickly move you to the top of the pack, and the FX story totally demonstrates that,” Sarpong said.