Study Finds More Diversity Among First-Time TV Directors

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Thomas Schlamme in 2015. He’s now the president of the Directors Guild of America.

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Richard Shotwell/Invision, via Associated Press

The pool of first-time television directors has grown more diverse, according to a new industry report, but not everyone is convinced of the findings.

The Directors Guild of America announced this week that, according to a study it conducted, women and “ethnic minorities” — a term the group used but did not define — are being hired as first-time directors at significantly higher rates than they were in 2009.

For the 2016-17 season, “ethnic minorities” made up 24.9 percent of new hires, up from 12.1 percent for the 2009-10 season, when the study began. The number of first-time female directors rose at an even greater rate, to 32.4 percent in 2016, from 11.1 percent in 2009, according to the report.

“After years of our efforts to educate the industry, hold employers accountable through our contracts and push them to do better, we’re seeing signs of meaningful improvement,” Thomas Schlamme, the guild’s president, said in a statement. The guild, which has over 16,000 members, represents directors working in film, television, news and new media.

Not everyone shares the guild’s interpretation of the report.

“The D.G.A. is trying to say all things are wonderful,” said Jennifer Warren, chairwoman and founder of the Alliance of Women Directors. “They’re much better, but are they wonderful? No. Have all the improvements happened because of what the D.G.A. has been doing? No.”

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