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DGA study slams nets

A new Directors Guild of America study concluded that the networks have made little progress in hiring more women and minority directors for their high-profile series.

The study, of the "top 40" prime-time dramas and comedies, found that 82% of the episodes are directed by "Caucasian males," 11% by women, 5% by African Americans, 2% by Latinos and 1% by Asians.

Those statistics are "virtually unchanged" over the past three years, with the exception of an increase from 3% to 5% for African-American directors, the DGA said.

Three shows were found to have no women or minority directors in 2002-2003: CBS’ CSI: Miami and Yes Dear and Fox’s 24.

Saying the networks had failed their commitment to diversity, the DGA said it would use “all available resources and options” to rectify the situation.

Mitsy Wilson, senior vice president of diversity development for Fox Entertainment Group, saw the picture slightly differently.

Although she acknowledged that “The numbers speak for themselves,” and “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” she also pointed out that headlines don’t tell the whole story.

In fact, she said, they fail to show the effort that goes into bringing diversity to the process. For example, she added, the slam on 24

was off base. “24 did have a director of color slated to do four episodes,” she said, “but he made the choice to pull out to do a Dragnet series.”

The DGA did identify a handful of shows, including one from Fox, that got high marks for director diversity: Third Watch, Frasier, and ER, all on NBC, and Fox’s Bernie Mac Show.