‘Curb,’ ‘iCarly’ Among the Least Diverse Shows for Directors, DGA Says

Directors Guild study highlights the programs with the most and least minority and female directors

When it comes to hiring female and minority directors, the ABC sitcom “The Middle” gets a gold star and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” earns a piece of coal, according to a new report from The Directors Guild of America.

The DGA analyzed more than 2,600 episodes produced in the 2010-2011 television season from more than 170 scripted television series to compile its “best of” and “worst of” lists.

The clear message from its findings is that television remains a white man’s world.

The study comes on the heels of last month's report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University that found that the number of females both in front of and behind the cameras is down from just a year ago.

As evidence that a glass ceiling exists, albeit with a few cracks, the DGA study found that Caucasian males directed 77 percent of all episodes, Caucasian females helmed 11 percent of all episodes and minority males directed 11 percent of all episodes. Particularly anemic was minority female representation. Women of color only slid behind the camera 1 percent of the time.

Also read: Study: Despite Bigelow's Success, Women Directors in Decline

Among one-hour series, Caucasian males directed 80 percent of episodes, and in half-hour series, Caucasian males directed 74 percent of all episodes.

Those dismal numbers were essentially static in terms of Caucasian female representation, but the percentage of episodes directed by minority men dropped (from 12 percent to 11 percent) and the percentage of episodes directed by minority women dropped by half (from 2 percent to 1 percent).

“The statistics seem to demonstrate that as a whole, most production companies have demonstrated little or no interest or effort in increasing diversity in their hiring practices from year to year,” the report reads.

In the dog house in terms of female and minority representation, are HBO’s “Bored to Death,” FX’s “Justified,” and Showtime’s “Weeds” all of which were exclusively directed by white men.

In addition to “The Middle,” which turned over directing chores to women and minorities 64 percent of the time, other standouts include three HBO programs “Hung” (60 percent), “In Treatment” (54 percent), and “Treme” (45 percent), two CBS shows “90210” (45 percent) and “The Good Wife” (39 percent), and Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” (38 percent). 

The DGA found nine shows that had no minority or female directors

· Bored to Death (HBO) – 0%
· Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) – 0%
· Fringe (Warner Bros.) – 0%
· iCarly (Uptown Productions/MTV/Viacom) – 0%
· Justified (Woodridge Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 0%
· Leverage (Leverage Productions) – 0%
· Victorious (Uptown Productions/MTV/Viacom) – 0%
· Weeds (Weeds Productions) – 0%

16 shows fell below the 15 percent threshold for minority and female directors:

· House (NBC) – 4%
· The Office (NBC) – 4%
· CSI (CBS) – 5%
· Supernatural (NS Pictures) – 5%
· Good Luck Charlie (It’s a Laugh Productions) – 6%
· Army Wives (ABC) – 8%
· Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – 9%
· Bones (Fox) – 9%
· Cougar Town (FTP Productions/ABC) – 9%
· Desperate Housewives (ABC) – 9%
· True Blood (HBO) – 10%
· Dark Blue (Horizon Scripted Television) – 10%
· Castle (ABC) – 13%
· NCIS (CBS) – 13%
· Modern Family (Fox) – 13%
· Gossip Girl (Warner Bros.) – 14%

DGA’s “BEST OF” List
At the same time, the following shows deserve to be highlighted for their more diverse hiring records in 2010-2011:

Here are the most diverse shows in terms of hiring minority and female directors:

· The Middle (Warner Bros.) – 63%
· Hung (HBO) – 60%
· In Treatment (HBO) – 54%
· 90210 (CBS) – 45%
· Treme (HBO) – 45%
· The Good Wife (CBS) – 39%
· Drop Dead Diva (Woodridge Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 38%
· CSI: NY (CBS) – 36%
· Private Practice (ABC) – 36%
· Rules of Engagement (Montrose Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 35%
· Nurse Jackie (Nurse Productions/Lions Gate) – 33%
· Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – 32%
· CSI: Miami (CBS) – 32%
· In Plain Sight (NBC) – 31%
· Mad Men (U.R.O.K. Productions/Lions Gate) – 31%
· 30 Rock (NBC) – 30%

Here's are the least diverse first-year series:

· Franklin & Bash (Woodridge Productions/CPT Holdings/Sony) – 0%
· Hot in Cleveland (King Street) – 0%
· Nikita (NS Pictures) – 0%
· Teen Wolf (On Site Productions/MTV/Viacom) – 0%
· Melissa and Joey (Prodco) – 3%
· Raising Hope (Fox) – 5%
· Breakout Kings (Fox) – 8%
· Harry’s Law (Bonanza Productions/Warner Bros.) – 9%
· Hawaii Five-0 (Eye Productions/CBS) – 13%

The most diverse first-year series:

· Let’s Stay Together (Breakdown Productions/BET) – 100%
· Are We There Yet? (AWTY Productions) – 86%
· Pair of Kings (It’s a Laugh Productions) – 50%
· The Walking Dead (Stalwart Films/Stu Segall Productions) – 50%
· The Killing (Killing Productions/TVM Productions/Fox) – 46%
· Body of Proof (Paige Productions/ABC) – 33%
· Pretty Little Liars (Horizon Scripted Television) – 33%