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TCA17: Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative Paves Way for Women and Minority Directors

Complete Coverage: 2017 TCA Summer Press Tour

Producer Ryan Murphy is behind Half, an initiative within Ryan Murphy Television that aims to make Hollywood more inclusive by creating more opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Less than one year after launching Half, Ryan Murphy Television’s director slate hired 60% women directors and 94% met the minority requirement.

In collaboration with FX Networks and its chief, John Landgraf, the director slate increased from 12% female/diverse directors in 2015 to 51% in 2016 for the network.

“I love looking around my company and empowering inclusion in all departments,” said Murphy. “I recently led a production meeting and was proud to see that more than half of the people sitting at the table were women and minorities. That’s the way it should be.”

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Murphy’s productions include American Crime Story, American Horror Story and Feud.

Half launched a Directing Mentorship Program in which every director on every Ryan Murphy Television production mentors emerging directors through pre-production to post-production, along with offering a significant stipend for their commitment. The Directing Mentorship Program had 29 participants in 2016 and has added 30 participants in 2017, providing more than $200,000 in financial aid to help cover travel, lodging and daycare for working mothers. Three participants in the Directing Program became first time episodic directors.

Half has collaborated with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to create an internship program for under-represented youth in conjunction with the California Film Commission. Murphy joined Garcetti’s Advisory Board on the Entertainment Inclusion Fund.

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Half will be launching Half Fest at the Skirball Cultural Center, to “welcome people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society,” said Half.

Said Murphy, “I want to mentor and sponsor these emerging directors as storytelling continues to move forward and so should the storytellers.”

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.