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The Handmaids Tale director Reed Morano
The Handmaid's Tale director Reed Morano
DGA 2016-17 Episodic TV Director Diversity Report:
Increase in Women and Minority Directors

On November 14, 2017, the Directors Guild of America released a report  in which television series were analyzed based on the gender and minority  status of the directors. The DGA's annual report on the subject analyzed  an all-time high of nearly 4,500 episodes produced in the 2016-2017 television  season, up from 4,061 episodes in the prior season.

Summary of Findings:

  • Employer Hiring of Women and Minority Directors Up in Record 2016-2017 TV Season
  • Results Mixed By Studio; Netflix Trailed Behind, Twentieth Century Fox Led the Way
Ethnic and gender diversity among episodic television directors continued to increase this past season, the Directors Guild of America reported today, with the percentage of episodes directed by ethnic minorities rising by 3 percentage points to a record 22% of all episodes, while the percentage directed by women went up 4 points to 21% of all episodes, another all-time high.



Further breaking down the data by ethnicity:

Caucasians (male and female) directed 78% of all episodes,

African-Americans directed 13%,

Asian-Americans directed 5%,

and Latinos directed 4%

Report Highlights:

The TV universe and the pace of growth has accelerated: There were 4,482 episodes in the 2016-2017 season – representing a 10% increase in total episodes since the 2015-2016 season, and 42% increase since just five seasons ago.

With that expansion came more directing jobs for all:

  • Minorities directed 1,006 episodes – 223 more episodes than in the 2015-2016 season (a 28% increase). The total number of individual minority directors employed in episodic television grew 46% to 205 (up from 140 in the 2015-2016 season).

  • Women directed 955 episodes – 253 more episodes than in the 2015-2016 season (a 36% increase). The total number of individual women directors employed in episodic television grew 45% to 262 (up from 180 in the 2015-2016 season).

  • And while the percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males decreased to 62% (from 67% in the 2015-2016 season) – the actual number of episodes went up slightly from 2,717 the year prior to 2,749 (Note: this includes episodes directed by 108 Caucasian male first-time episodic television directors). The total number of individual Caucasian male directors employed in episodic television grew 5% to 757 (up from 723 in the 2015-2016 season).

Combined, the ten dominant industry employers oversaw the production of more than 75% of the episodes covered in this report. By aggregating the episodes from each employer, differences in the companies’ hiring patterns emerge.



Taking a look at the rankings in the table above, Twentieth Century Fox, CBS, NBC Universal and Amazon held the top four spots in the hiring of diverse directors, with Fox leading the way overall and in the hiring of minority directors. Amazon led in the hiring of women directors, but took the second to last spot in the hiring of minority directors.

In the middle were Disney/ABC, Warner Bros., and HBO. While HBO was strong in the hiring of women directors, the studio was also in the bottom third in the hiring of minority directors.

Sony and Viacom held the eighth and ninth spots, while Netflix hired the lowest percentage of diverse directors. 

*This report tracks employment by television studios (production), as opposed to networks (distribution). Hiring decisions are primarily made by studios – even when they share the same parent company as a network which may have some approval of those decisions. Moreover, many studios also produce series for outside networks, and some studios are not affiliated with a network.

To view the source report, click here. Check out the breakdown of women, minorities, and women and minorities combined in PDFs of the study. View the official report on the DGA website, and look at other PDFs and additional information linked in the study. 


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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