New DGA Study Shows Increase in the Number of Female and Minority TV Directors

A positive report on the 2016-2017 TV season.
Reed Morano Handmaid
By  · Published on November 15th, 2017

A positive report on the 2016-2017 TV season.

From an ever-expanding world of television comes more director’s chairs to fill. As Deadline reports, a study by the Director’s Guild of America shows that diversity in the TV director’s sphere set a record in 2016 and 2017 with the number of women and minority directors working in episodic television shows. For female director’s, the percentage rose to 21% from its place at 17% during the 2015-2016 season, while for minorities, the percentage reached 22% from its previous mark at 19%.

Based on the wide variety of television out there today, it’s no surprise that more television programs bring more opportunities for directors. However, the study also shows that there is not an equal contribution to this increase in diversity from every studio.

The DGA compared the 10 largest TV studios based on their combined percentage of women and minority directors. As Deadline points out, though, the DGA study goes by television studio rather than networks, since studios work with more of the employment and production side of the industry. These results show that 20th Century Fox Companies and CBS Companies rank in the top two. This particular ranking does not differ much from the previous year’s ranking except for the fact that 20th Century Fox Companies came out as number one this year from its place at number two last year.

Meanwhile, Netflix, which doesn’t appear to have been ranked in last year’s study, came out at number 10, following Viacom Music and Ent. Group Companies. The rest of the rankings appear to have only slightly shifted places, with the addition of Amazon and Netflix shaking things up a bit. However, each studio’s ranking varies when accounting for female and minority directors as separate categories. While Amazon may have come in fourth with a combined percentage, their total number of female directors landed at 33%, which is the highest number of female directors on the chart.


Thinking back to the beginning of the decade, the increase is noticeable. Whereas during the 2010-2011 season the number of white, male directors totaled 72%, this past season the total is down to 62%, with women and minorities making up the rest. If the trend continues, the number of female and minority directors could make up half of the total within the next decade. Tracking back through the years in between, the pace of the increase, for the most, remained at a small but steady rate, with this past year being the first in the decade to show an increase of more than 4% for the combined total. This does not account for the small ebbs and flows throughout the years within the annual calculations.

Ultimately, this new study indicates a step forward for diversity where TV directing is concerned. However, with the recent addition of streaming sites to the study, it will be interesting to see in the coming years how newer streaming companies fare against long-time players such as CBS and 20th Century Fox, who for the time being still dominate the charts. That being said, Hulu was not included in this report, but since Netflix and Amazon were only just recently added this past year, seeing Hulu included in the near future feels like a reasonable assumption.

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