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DGA report reveals best and worst TV shows for women, minority directors

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Chuck Hodes/Fox

The Directors Guild of America’s annual television report was released Tuesday, revealing a slight advancement for women TV directors and more exclusion for minorities in first-time hiring.

The report analyzes the gender and ethnicity of directors working in primetime episodic television in broadcast, basic and premium cable, and high-budget original content series created for the web. It looked at more than 270 scripted series (which is more than 3,900 episodes) in the 2014-2015 network TV season and 2014 cable TV season.

Among its major findings, the report divulged that women directed 16% of all episodes, as opposed to 14% from the year before. It also found that minorities of both genders directed 18% of all episodes, which is a 1% decrease from the previous year.

The report drew attention to “positive trends” and noted, for example, that there was a 10% increase in total episodes and that there were more directing jobs for women. But it also highlighted “areas of concern,” pointing out, among other things, that 84% of the 128 first-time episodic directors hired in the 2014-2015 season were male, which is a 4% increase from the 2013-2014 season. Additionally, there was a 5% increase in episodes directed by minorities, but that fell behind the 10% increase in total episodes. 

Michael Desmond/Showtime

What’s more, the report includes best and worst lists, which detail the percentage of episodes by women or minority directors. Among the best are Being Mary Jane, Empire, Jane the Virgin, Homeland, and more. Boardwalk Empire, Masters of Sex, Ray Donovan, Supernatural, and others, meanwhile, made the worst of list. 

“The uptick in the number of episodes directed by women — modest but hopeful — is just a drop in the bucket of what needs to be done by studios, networks and showrunners before we can begin to realize equal opportunities in television for our members,” said DGA President Paris Barclay of the findings in a press release.

“With so many more episodes and work opportunities, employers should seize the opportunity for diversity with their choices, especially when it comes to first-time episodic directors. Without employers making a concerted effort to bringing a more diverse mix of new entrants to the hiring pool, we won’t see meaningful and lasting change.”

For more results from the report, head on over to DGA.