Hollywood Fails to Make Progress in Hiring Women and Minority TV Directors

If not for Tyler Perry, minority male directors would have made no progress at all last TV season, Directors Guild of America study finds

Tyler Perry
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There haven’t been many strides made in diversifying the directors’ pool in episodic television, according to the Directors Guild of America.

A new study released by the guild Wednesday found that the vast majority of episodic TV directors are white and male.

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Analyzing more than 3,500 episodes produced in the 2013-2014 network television season and the 2013 cable season, the guild found that white males directed 69 percent of all episodes, while minority males directed 17 percent. White women directed 12 percent of all episodes, while minority females directed just 2 percent.

That’s little change from the previous season, when 72 percent of episodes were directed by white males, 14 percent were directed by minority males, 12 percent were directed by white women and 2 percent were directed by minority women.

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While the uptick in minority male directors might seem like a glimmer of hope, the guild found that the entirety of the uptick was due to the high number of episodes from a single director, Tyler Perry.

Series with a particular lack of diversity in directors — enough to earn back-to-back appearances on the guild’s “Worst Of” list — include “Bates Motel,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The Mindy Project” and “Workaholics.”

“Unfortunately, it can be shockingly difficult to convince the people who control hiring to make even small improvements to their hiring practices,” DGA president Paris Barclay said. “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. People often say, ‘everybody is responsible for diversity,’ but in the end, that often means that nobody takes responsibility. 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.”