LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Women and minority television directors made modest gains last season, but the majority of television episodes are still directed by white men, the Directors Guild of America found in a study released Tuesday.
The guild’s study states that 62 per cent of nearly 4,500 television episodes reviewed during the 2016-2017 season were directed by white men. When adding in white female directors, 78 per cent of the television episodes reviewed were helmed by white directors.
Non-white directors accounted for 22 per cent of all episodes directed last year, with black directors accounting for 13 per cent. Asian-Americans accounted for 5 per cent of the episodes directed, while Latinos represented 4 per cent.
The numbers reflect low single-digit increases for female and minority directors from previous seasons: White women directed 16 per cent of episodes in 2016-2017 compared with 14 per cent, and minority females directed 5 per cent of episodes, up from 3 per cent in 2015-2016.
Directors Guild President Thomas Schlamme wrote in a statement accompanying the report that the results show “stark disparities among the major studios that raise questions about how committed to inclusion some employers really are.”
He said studios must do more to find directors from diverse backgrounds.
“Frankly, it’s hard to understand why they’re not doing more,” Schlamme said. “Even if all the right reasons are not enough for them, they should at least be motivated by the bottom line — inclusion just makes good business sense.”
The report also ranks studios and their subsidiaries on the racial and ethnic breakdown of its directors. The study found 20th Century Fox was the most inclusive studio, producing 553 episodes of content, with 55 per cent of episodes being directed by white men. CBS and NBC ranked second, while Netflix was last, with white men directing 77 per cent of the 88 episodes reviewed, and only 4.5 per cent of those jobs going to minority directors.
ABC, which accounted for the most content with 614 episodes, ranked fifth out of 10 studios reviewed, with white men accounting for 64 per cent of the directors. Minority directors accounted for 23 per cent of ABC episodes, while female directors were in charge of 21 per cent.