DGA gives TV producers failing grade on hiring women, minorities

0

LOS ANGELES — Further evidence has emerged that
Hollywood has made little progress in hiring women and minorities to
work on prime-time television shows.

A survey
conducted by the Directors Guild of America of more than 2,600
television episodes from 170 scripted TV series for the 2010-11 season
found that white males directed 77 percent of all episodes, and white
females directed 11 percent of all episodes. Minority males directed 11
percent all episodes and minority females directed just 1 percent of the
shows, according to the survey of programs from the major broadcast and
cable networks.

The directors guild, which over
the years has prodded production companies to establish diversity
programs and improve hiring practices, expressed disappointment with the
findings, noting that the results show little change from a similar
survey in the 2009-2010 television season.

The
guild singled out nine shows that hired no women or minority directors
for the 2010-2011 season, including HBO’s “Bored to Death,” Showtime’s
“Weeds” and FX’s “Justified.” Sixteen other shows hired women and
minorities for fewer than 15 percent of episodes. Those include Fox’s
“House” (produced by NBC) and Lifetime’s “Army Wives” (produced by ABC).

“It’s
not enough to just give lip service to the idea of increasing diversity
behind the camera,” said Paris Barclay, the DGA’s first vice president
and co-chair of its diversity task force. “These programs are so far
failing to live up to their promise. So we’re going to take the
discussion straight to the people on each show who make hiring
decisions,” added Barclay, an executive producer for the FX show “Sons
of Anarchy.”

The DGA negotiated a new provision in
its most recent contracts, which took effect July 1, that allows union
officials to meet directly with executives responsible for hiring at the
individual show level.

“We are encouraging shows,
production companies and networks, when they weigh in, to offer
opportunities to up-and-coming directors from all backgrounds,” said
Lesli Linka Glatter, co-chair of the DGA diversity task force and
co-executive producer of “The Playboy Club.”

The
DGA’s findings echo those of other recent surveys, including a recent
report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at
San Diego State University. The report found during the 2010 season
women composed 15 percent of writers for prime-time dramas, comedies and
reality shows on the broadcast networks, down 29 percent from the
2009-2010 season. Among directors, 11 percent were women, compared with
16 percent the previous year.

A report released by
the Writers Guild of America, West in May found that the earnings gap
between minorities and white writers more than doubled since 2007. The
minority share of employment in feature films declined to the lowest
level in a decade, falling to 5 percent from 6 percent in 2007.

———

©2011 the Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Previous articleBag it up
Next articleThe Enronization of presidential politics