A new report says that the number of television directors of color reached an all-time high during the 2016-2017 season.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) charts this growth in the “DGA 2016-2017 Episodic TV Diversity Report,” which it released yesterday (November 14). The annual report analyzes director demographics from all episodes produced during a given season. The latest version references 4,482 episodes—421 more than the previous report—to reach its conclusions.
The DGA found that people of color directed 22.4 percent of all television episodes during the 2016-2017 season. The guild breaks this down by both gender (17 percent men of color and 5 percent women of color) and ethnicity (13 percent Black, 5 percent Asian American and 4 percent Latinx). Overall, directors of color helmed 28 percent more episodes than in the 2015-2016 season. And there were 205 individual directors, which is 65 more than the year before.
The increase in directorial diversity is largely confined to a few networks. Just four of the 10 largest studios by revenue reported that more than a fifth of their directors are people of color: Twentieth Century Fox (23.3 percent), Disney/ABC (22.8 percent), NBC Universal (22.5 percent) and CBS (20.2 percent). Netflix, the home of “Luke Cage” and “Master of None,” placed last at 4.5 percent.
“While this report, and our recent report on hiring of first-time TV directors, reflect some progress overall, there are stark disparities among the major studios that raise questions about how committed to inclusion some employers really are,” DGA President Thomas Schlamme says in the report. “Frankly, it’s hard to understand why they’re not doing more. Even if all the right reasons are not enough for them, they should at least be motivated by the bottom line—inclusion just makes good business sense.”
Read the full report at DGA.org.