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DGA Report Finds Director Diversity in Episodic Television Remains Static

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LR-Part_1.2.2The Directors Guild of America has released a report analyzing the ethnicity and gender of directors hired to direct primetime episodic television across broadcast, basic cable and premium cable.

The DGA analyzed more than 3,300 episodes produced in the 2012-2013 network television season and the 2012 cable television season from more than 200 scripted television series. The report showed that Caucasian males directed 72 percent of all episodes. Caucasian females directed 12 percentof all episodes. Minority males directed 14 percent of all episodes and minority females directed 2 percent of all episodes. Among one-hour series, Caucasian males directed 74 percent of all episodes, and in half-hour series, Caucasian males directed 70 percent of all episodes.

Comparing figures for 2012-2013 with figures for 2011-2012, this year’s report shows:

  • The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males decreased from 73 percent to 72 percent
  • The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian females increased from 11 percent to 12 percent
  • The percentage of episodes directed by minority males increased from 13 percent to 14 percent
  • The percentage of episodes directed by minority females decreased from 4 percent to 2 percent

The most noticeable change from last year’s statistics was the drop in the percentage of episodes directed by minority females from 4 percent to 2 percent. Further analysis shows that the total number of episodes directed by minority females overall is low enough that the cancellation of a single series, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, significantly impacted this figure. Once again, too many shows also failed to reach even the low threshold of hiring women or minorities for at least 15 percent of episodes in a season.

“I applaud the shows whose diverse hiring practices landed them a spot on our ‘Best Of’ [Diversity Hire] list,” said Betty Thomas, co-chair of the DGA national board’s diversity task force and DGA first vice president. “Some of them have clearly made a big commitment to diversity, and I think they’ve been well-served by it.”

Over the past three years, DGA executives and members of the Diversity Task Force held nearly 20 meetings with production companies specifically to address diversity in hiring. Additional meetings were held at the individual show level.

The Guild’s African American, Asian American, Latino and Women’s Committees continue to hold networking events with producers, networks and studio representatives to introduce talented directors to key producers and television executives. Additionally, several diversity programs, established years ago by production companies at the urging of the guild, continue to give women and minority directors exposure to those with hiring power.

The DGA compiled the statistics from information provided by the production companies to the DGA pursuant to the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement for episodes produced during the 2012-2013 season. It then validated the data directly with the shows themselves, and then again with a labor relations representative at the production company if available. A few shows failed to verify their statistics, in which case the DGA made its best effort to validate the data with someone at the production company level.

Additional data on the more than 200 series included in this year’s report can be found on the DGA website at www.dga.org.

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