Broadcast TV directors lack minority representation

Gabriel Miramar-Garcia | 01-10-2012

Never an area particularly known for its minority involvement, when it comes to TV production, TV directors working on broadcast and cable series have actually become less diverse in the last 12 months, according to a Directors Guild Of America report.

TV shows directed by minority males during the 2011-12 season dropped to 13% from 14% last year, while white males directed 73% of primetime shows on cable and broadcast, an increase from 72% last year.

Minority female TV directors fared better: they increased their percentages to 4% from 3% last year, while white women remained flat at 11%, according to the DGA.

Our industry has to do better, said Paris Barclay, the DGA,s first vice president and co-chair of the diversity task force of the DGA National Board, in a statement.

Eight new shows were cited in the report as having hired no minorities or women directors during the 2011-12 season: Chemistry (Cinemax); Dallas (TNT); The Inbetweeners (MTV); Retired at 35 (TV Land); Veep (HBO); and Workaholics (Comedy Central). One show on the broadcast side fell into that category: the CWs Supernatural.

There were a few bright spots of colour, as it were: BET's The Game, Lets Stay Together and Reed Between The Lines, and VH1's Queen Latifah-produced dramedy Single Ladies, all were given top marks for hiring minority and female directors for at least 30% of its episodes. Disney XDs Lab Rats did well too, earning an 80% grade.

Generaly though, TV direction is not keeping up with general demographics of the country. In this day and age, it is quite disappointing that so many shows failed to hire even a single woman or minority director during the course of an entire season even shows whose cast and crew otherwise is notably diverse, said Barclay. And, 'We just don‟t know anybody,' doesn‟t cut it anymore the pool of talented and experienced women and minority directors grows every year, and too many of these qualified, capable directors are still overlooked.