DGA TV Diversity Report: Progress Made...and Still Needed

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Almost a third of TV episodes in 2019-20 were headed up by directors of color, according to the latest Directors Guild of America Episodic Television Director Inclusion Report*, and more than a third by women.

That was the progress. But where progress remains is among Latinos and women of color, who continue to be "severely underrepresented." Employment of Asian Americans continued to be flat.

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DGA pointed to some remaining obstacles in the pipeline for first-time directors. “It’s hard enough to achieve success in the competitive world of TV directing,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. “Therefore, it is vitally important that no group should be disadvantaged when it comes to developing a career...we will not be satisfied until we see fairness for all. Inclusion is not about one group or another, inclusion means everyone.”

Of the 4,300 episodes produced in 2019-2020, 32% were directed by people of color, up from 27% the season before and from 18% five seasons ago, according to DGA.

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Episodes directed by women were up to 34% in 2019-2020 from 31% the season before and more than double the 16% of the 2014-2015 season.

Given that the major studios were responsible for almost 75% of that output, DGA ranked them by percentage of directors of color and women for their respective episodes. 

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Sony and WarnerMedia tied atop the directors of color list, each with 33% of their episodes directed by people of color, followed by Netflix and Disney close behind at 32% apiece and CBS rounding out the top five at 28%, followed by NBCU at 27%, Paramount at 19% and HBO at 18%.

In the women directors category, Paramount was tops at 47% of its episodes directed by women, followed by HBO at 44%, Disney at 41%, WarnerMedia at 38%, and Netflix rounding out the top five at 37%, followed by BCU at 34%, Sony at 32% and CBS at 30%.

Companies that oversaw fewer than 70 episodes--Amazon, Viacom and Lionsgate prominently among them--were not included in the ranking.

*The DGA report data includes "foreign series shot abroad with one or more episodes made under a DGA agreement" and only episodes shot under a DGA agreement, wherever they were produced, are included.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.