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DGA: Women, Minorities Break Records Behind the Camera

The Directors Guild of America reported Tuesday that the number of minority and female directors increased during the 2016-17 television season.

According to the DGA 2016-17 Episodic TV Director Diversity Report, the percentage of episodes directed by ethnic minorities rose by 3 points to a record 22% of all episodes, while the share of episodes directed by women jumped 4 points to an all-time high of 21% of all episodes.

The increases comes as more content is being produced across the board. During the 2016-17 season more than 4,482 episodes were produced, an increase of 10% in total episodes compared with the 2015-16 season, and a 42% increase compared with five years ago, according to the report.

Related: New York Backs TV Production Tax Break for Hiring Diverse Writers, Directors

Among studios producing content, Twentieth Century Fox Cos. was the most diverse among the top 10 largest studios, with 45% of its content directed by women and minorities, the DGA found. Netflix finished 10th with only 20.5% of its shows helmed by a minority or female director.

"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," said DGA president Thomas Schlamme. "We want to make sure that every talented individual has an equal shot, and a path forward. But for that to happen, employers must expand their hiring processes to discover the world of capable directors hiding in plain sight. 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."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.