During the 2014-15 TV season, Directors Guild of America statistics showed FX possessing one of the worst records when it came to hiring female and non-white directors. Twelve percent of the network’s directors were either women or non-white. However, at this morning’s TCA session, FX CEO John Landgraf made it known that the network has taken great strides in making big changes for the 2016-17 season, which will see 51% of the directors hired by FX and FXX being men and women of color or white women.
How this breaks down on FX Networks’ 17 series is that there’s 170 director slots. Twenty-one spots currently are open, and of the other 149, 76 have gone to men and women of color and white women. Further analyzing this: 73 helming jobs went to white men (49%), 32 spots went to men of color (21%), 11 to women of color (7%) and 33 to white women (22%). See the chart above.
Said Landgraf, whose attention was drawn to this matter from a Variety article: “I immediately set out to correct that error. I wrote a letter to all of the FX Networks showrunners — those who actually make the hiring decisions for episodic directors — asking for their help. I have been truly heartened that they all responded very positively, and with the help and support provided to them by FX’s head of current programming, Jonathan Frank, and his talented team of current executives and also by Nicole Bernard, a senior executive at Fox Network’s Group, who among other things runs our parent company’s Global Directors Initiative, we made a dramatic change.”
Added Landgraf, “We hope the example of FX more than quadrupling our percentage of diverse and female directors in such a short time sends a message to our whole industry that it is well past time for change to happen—and that it is only a matter of re-thinking our priorities and of putting in the collective effort for us to make it so.”
Landgraf also mentioned that he plans to expand the “opportunities for a broader representation” of writers and producers at the network. Given the freelance hire nature of directors, it was more feasible in the short run to expand the directing ranks at the network, since most series book their writers for a season.