DGA 2016-17 Episodic TV Director Diversity Report

November 14, 2017

  • Employer Hiring of Women and Minority Directors Up in Record 2016-2017 TV Season
  • Results Mixed By Studio; Netflix Trailed Behind, Twentieth Century Fox Led the Way

LOS ANGELES – Ethnic and gender diversity among episodic television directors continued to increase this past season, the Directors Guild of America reported today, with the percentage of episodes directed by ethnic minorities rising by 3 percentage points to a record 22% of all episodes, while the percentage directed by women went up 4 points to 21% of all episodes, another all-time high.

Further breaking down the data by ethnicity:

  • Caucasians (male and female) directed 78% of all episodes,
  • African-Americans directed 13%,
  • Asian-Americans directed 5%, and
  • Latinos directed 4%

The DGA's annual report on the subject, released today, analyzed an all-time high of nearly 4,500 episodes produced in the 2016-2017 television season, up from 4,061 episodes in the prior season (see Appendix A for comparison with the 2015-2016 season).

"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."

For the DGA's recent study on the hiring of first-time episodic television directors, which revealed that the pipeline of new episodic television directors grew larger than ever before and became markedly more inclusive in the 2016/17 television season, CLICK HERE.

Report Highlights

  • The TV universe and the pace of growth has accelerated: There were 4,482 episodes in the 2016-2017 season – representing a 10% increase in total episodes since the 2015-2016 season, and 42% increase since just five seasons ago.

  • With that expansion came more directing jobs for all:
    • Minorities directed 1,006 episodes – 223 more episodes than in the 2015-2016 season (a 28% increase). The total number of individual minority directors employed in episodic television grew 46% to 205 (up from 140 in the 2015-2016 season).

    • Women directed 955 episodes – 253 more episodes than in the 2015-2016 season (a 36% increase). The total number of individual women directors employed in episodic television grew 45% to 262 (up from 180 in the 2015-2016 season).

    • And while the percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males decreased to 62% (from 67% in the 2015-2016 season) – the actual number of episodes went up slightly from 2,717 the year prior to 2,749 (Note: this includes episodes directed by 108 Caucasian male first-time episodic television directors). The total number of individual Caucasian male directors employed in episodic television grew 5% to 757 (up from 723 in the 2015-2016 season).

Analysis & Ranking of Television Studios*

Higher resolution charts available at the bottom of the page.

Combined, the ten dominant industry employers oversaw the production of more than 75% of the episodes covered in this report. By aggregating the episodes from each employer, differences in the companies’ hiring patterns emerge.

Taking a look at the rankings in the table above, Twentieth Century Fox, CBS, NBC Universal and Amazon held the top four spots in the hiring of diverse directors, with Fox leading the way overall and in the hiring of minority directors. Amazon led in the hiring of women directors, but took the second to last spot in the hiring of minority directors.

In the middle were Disney/ABC, Warner Bros., and HBO. While HBO was strong in the hiring of women directors, the studio was also in the bottom third in the hiring of minority directors.

Sony and Viacom held the eighth and ninth spots, while Netflix hired the lowest percentage of diverse directors.

To view the full data on the series analyzed by the DGA see the links at the bottom of this page.

*This report tracks employment by television studios (production), as opposed to networks (distribution). Hiring decisions are primarily made by studios – even when they share the same parent company as a network which may have some approval of those decisions. Moreover, many studios also produce series for outside networks, and some studios are not affiliated with a network.

**An earlier version of this report incorrectly did not include She's Gotta Have It as a Netflix studio production. Netflix's data in the above ranking has since been adjusted.

The DGA has been pressing studios, networks, and producers to be more inclusive in hiring for more than 35 years. Its efforts include: collective bargaining gains requiring television studios to operate TV director diversity programs, and all first-time TV directors to attend a DGA orientation; ongoing meetings with studios, networks and individual series regarding their hiring records; and publicized reports detailing employer hiring patterns. In addition, the Guild itself has initiated a variety of TV director mentorship and educational programs to support the career development of its members.

For more information about the DGA’s diversity efforts, visit: www.dga.org/The-Guild/Diversity.

About the Directors Guild of America

In the more than 80 years since its founding in 1936, the DGA has fought for the economic and creative rights of its members; protected their ability to financially benefit from the reuse of their work; established strong pension and health plans; and established jurisdiction in new technologies and distribution platforms. Today we represent more than 17,000 directors and members of the directorial team working in film, television, commercials, new media and other audiovisual media.

The report analyzed the ethnicity and gender of directors hired to direct episodic television series across Broadcast, Basic Cable, Premium Cable, and high-budget original series made for Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) made under a DGA agreement. The DGA compiled the statistics in this report using internal information and information provided by production companies pursuant to the reporting requirements of its various collective bargaining agreements. Prior to publication, the DGA also requested verification of the statistics from each individual show or, if applicable, from labor relations representatives for each series. All figures in this report are rounded to the nearest percentage. Pilots are not included in the statistics.

Appendix A – 2016-2017 In Comparison With Previous Year

Comparing figures for 2016-2017 with 2015-2016, this year’s report shows that:

  • The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males decreased from 67% to 62%;
  • The percentage of episodes directed by minority males increased from 16% to 17%;
  • The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian females increased from 14% to 16%; and
  • The percentage of episodes directed by minority females increased from 3% to 5%.

Additional Data

The series and episodes analyzed were made under a DGA agreement by studios and production companies whose shows appear on broadcast, basic cable, and premium cable networks. Click the links below to view PDF spreadsheets of the full data organized by specific criteria.

Note: Included in the data are foreign series shot abroad with one or more episodes made under a DGA agreement. Only the episodes that were made under a DGA agreement were included in the overall statistics.

Report by % of Episodes Directed by Women & Minorities (PDF)

Report by % of Episodes Directed by Women (PDF)

Report by % of Episodes Directed by Minorities (PDF)

Report by Show Title (PDF)

Report by Studio (PDF)

Report by Network (PDF)

Report by Signatory Company (PDF)

For any questions regarding the data included in these spreadsheets, please contact Lily Bedrossian at 310-289-5333 or email lbedrossian@dga.org. 

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333
DGA Study: Record Hiring of First-Time TV Directors

The pipeline of new episodic TV directors grew larger and more inclusive in the 2016/17 season.

DGA 2015-16 Episodic Television Diversity Report

Report finds that there was minor improvement in employer hiring of women and ethnic minority directors; includes new analysis of hiring trends by studio and distribution platform.

The Good Fight

Over the past 30 years, Guild diversity committees have advanced the cause of women and minority members.