Women make up over half the U.S. population, but they only directed 14% of primetime network and cable TV shows last season, according to a new DGA study. Minority females fare even worse, helming only 2% of the shows. And job prospects for non-white-male directors aren’t getting better. “There has been no significant improvement in diversity hiring practices in episodic television during the past four years,” the guild said in its report.
“Unfortunately, it can be shockingly difficult to convince the people who control hiring to make even small improvements to their hiring practices,” said DGA President Paris Barclay. “But the end result is something worth fighting for. This should matter to all of us, as a culture, as an industry and as directors.”
In its survey, the DGA analyzed 3,500-plus episodes produced for the 2013-14 network television season and the 2013 cable television season from more than 220 scripted series. The report found that six-times more men than women are directing TV shows. According to the report, Caucasian males helmed 69% of all episodes, minority males directed 17%, Caucasian females 12% and minority females directed 2% of all episodes.
Minority males are directing nearly 30% more shows than are Caucasian women, even though Caucasian women outnumber minority males nearly 2-to-1.
Tyler Perry was the only bright spot for minorities. The report found that non-white-males directed 3% more episodes this year than in the previous year. But, the DGA said, “closer analysis reveals that this increase can be entirely attributed to the high number of episodes directed by a single director, Tyler Perry, who directed all episodes of three television series that he also produced, accounting for the entire 3% gain.”
The DGA also found that 23 of the 225 series it examined did not hire a single female or minority director last season. These shows, and the 39 others that hired women or minorities to direct fewer than 15% of episodes, make up the DGA’s “Worst Of” list. Among the series that had no women or minority directors last season are the female-fronted Hot In Cleveland (TV Land), Witches Of East End (Lifetime) and Nikita (the CW).
At the other end of the spectrum, the directors of five shows were all women or minorities: BET’s The Game, Let’s Stay Together and The Real Husbands Of Hollywood and VH1’s Hit The Floor and Single Ladies.
The DGA noted that although it has “no authority over hiring, it employs many other initiatives as part of its diversity efforts, including negotiating diversity provisions during the collective bargaining process; tracking and publicizing employment statistics; appointing prominent members to the National Board’s Diversity Task Force; supporting the guild’s member diversity committees and supplying those who hire with lists of experienced diverse directors.
“People often say, ‘Everybody is responsible for diversity,’ but in the end, that often means that nobody takes responsibility,” Barclay said. “It’s time for the people who make the hiring decisions – be they studios, networks, production companies, or individual producers – to stop making excuses, stop passing the buck, and start living up to the country’s promise and possibility by providing true equal opportunity.”