Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
While incremental job gains for minority and women TV writers have been made in the last decade-plus, staffing levels remain “widely disproportionate” to the demographics of the U.S. population, says WGA West. The not-too-surprising results of the guild’s most recent TV staffing report were revealed during a press conference this morning at WGAW headquarters. The 2013 TV Staffing Brief (read the full report here) highlights three traditionally underemployed groups in the TV industry: women, minority and older writers.
Sociology professor Darnell Hunt, author of the report and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, said that while women have seen a 5% increase in writing staff jobs between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, at the current rate of growth it would take women “42 years to catch up with men” in terms of TV writing staff jobs.
Other stats from the report: Minority writers nearly doubled their share of staff writing positions during that same period, from 7.5% to 15.6%, but still remain severely underrepresented compared to the population at large. Among the ranks of TV executive producer in the 2011-2012 season, women were underrepresented by factor of more than 2 to 1 “among writers who run TV shows” and minorities were underrepresented by a factor of nearly 5 to 1.
In the 2010-2011 season, just 9% of pilots had “at least one minority writer attached” and 24% of pilots had at least one woman writer attached.
For the first time in 2011-12, writers over 40 claimed a majority share of TV staff positions. (more…)