Guild study: Hiring of women, minority TV directors lags
LOS ANGELES -- The expanding world of TV series is creating more opportunities for female and minority directors but they remain a fraction of those hired, a Hollywood guild report said Monday.
Women directed 17 percent and minorities 19 percent of the more than 4,000 episodes produced last season for broadcast, cable and high-budget streaming series, the Directors Guild of America said in its annual survey.
For both groups, that represents a 1 percent increase over the year before.
"These numbers shine a light on the lack of real progress by employers in this industry, plain and simple. Of particular concern is the precedent being set by the fastest-growing category, streaming video," said Paris Barclay, the guild's president.
The number of episodes from streaming services including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu increased by 120 percent last year, but just 8 percent of episodes were directed by minorities, the study found. Women directed 17 percent.
Among the other findings:
-- The "pie" of available work continues to increase along with the number of platforms, although more slowly. The 4,061 episodes in the 2015-16 season represented a 4 percent increase over the previous one, although that's less than half the 10 percent growth from 2013-14 to 2014-15.
-- That reduced expansion still yielded more opportunities for women and minorities, with women directing 85 more episodes than the year before and minorities directing 89.
-- Thirty series hired no women or minority directors, four more than in the previous season. Among them were NBC's "Aquarius," FX Networks' "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and Fox's "Gotham."
-- Series that hired women or minority directors for at least 40 percent of episodes increased 28 percent, to 73 series.
-- CBS, Twentieth Century Fox, NBC Universal and Disney-ABC were ranked at the top of major TV studios and their subsidiaries in diversity hiring for directors. Sony and HBO lagged at the bottom, the study found.
Sony Pictures Television, which three years ago implemented a program to increase hiring of female and minority directors, declined comment. HBO didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a study released last month, the guild found that hiring of minorities and women for crucial stepping-stone TV directing jobs was failing to advance. Overall progress won't be made until the "pipe-line" of new minority and female directors becomes more robust, the guild said.
Looking at the period encompassing the 2009-10 through 2015-16 seasons, men represented 81 percent of first-time episodic directors, with women making up 19 percent, the guild said. Whites represented 86 percent, with minorities at 14 percent, the guild said in August.
Among guild members, female directors make up 14.3 percent and minorities are 8.7 percent.
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