The WGA West’s board of directors could soon become a lot more diverse — or not. The guild, which has long decried the lack of diversity in Hollywood’s writers rooms, could end up with a dramatically more diverse board itself if all of the nominating committee’s election selections made public today end up winning.
Currently there are five women on the guild’s 16-member board of directors, one African American, one Hispanic, and one Asian of Indian descent. The nominating committee, however, has picked four women, three African Americans and two Hispanics to compete for eight open seats. (One of the women is African American, one is Hispanic and one is an incumbent).
Seven white men, including three incumbents, are also in the running, and if they are all elected, the board’s makeup will remain largely unchanged.
“There has definitely been a push for more representation of women and people of color on the board,” said one guild insider. Added another: “There’s a real push to increase diversity on the board and across the board.”
Both insiders, however, noted that everyone nominated — regardless of race, gender or ethnicity — is highly qualified for the job of representing the guild’s members. “They’ve found a lot of qualified people,” one noted.
African American writers nominated for the board this year are In Living Color executive producer Keenen Ivory Wayans; Everybody Hates Chris creator Ali LeRoi, and Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Zoanne Clack. Hispanic writers nominated are Go, Diego! Go! head writer Ligiah Villalobos, and Rob The Mob executive producer Jonathan Fernandez, who is running for re-election. Women nominated include Clack, Villalobos, CBS News writer Courtney Ellinger, and Satisfaction co-executive producer Marjorie David, who is running for re-election.
Other incumbents seeking re-election include former guild president Patric Verrone and Homeland executive producer Chip Johannessen.
Others nominated include Glen Mazzara, the former executive producer of The Walking Dead; Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner; Person Of Interest co-executive producer David Slack; Growing Pains executive producer Dan Wilcox, and Fuller House co-executive producer Richard Keith.
In addition to the candidates selected by the nominating committee, eligible members may also be nominated by petition, and must submit 15 member signatures supporting their candidacy no later than July 22. The guild will host its annual Candidates Night forum at the WGA West headquarters on August 31.
Ballots will be counted September 19.