Women and minority television directors made modest gains last season, but the overwhelming majority of television episodes are still directed by white men and women, the Directors Guild of America found in a study released Tuesday.
The guild’s study states that 62 percent of nearly 4,500 television episodes reviewed during the 2016-2017 season were directed by white men. When adding in white female directors, 78 percent of the television episodes reviewed were helmed by white directors.
Non-white directors accounted for 22 percent of all episodes directed last year, with black directors accounting for 13 percent. Asian-Americans accounted for 5 percent of the episodes directed, while Latinos represented 4 percent.
The numbers reflect low single-digit increases for female and minority directors from previous seasons.
Directors Guild President Thomas Schlamme wrote in a statement accompanying the report that the results show “stark disparities among the major studios that raise questions about how committed to inclusion some employers really are.”
He said studios must do more to find directors from diverse backgrounds.
“Frankly, it’s hard to understand why they’re not doing more,” Schlamme said. “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.”
The report also ranks studios and their subsidiaries on the racial and ethnic breakdown of its directors. The study found 20th Century Fox was the most inclusive studio, producing 553 episodes of content, with 55 percent of episodes being directed by white men. CBS and NBC ranked second, while Netflix was last, with white men directing 77 percent of the 88 episodes reviewed, and only 4.5 percent of those jobs going to minority directors.
ABC, which accounted for the most content with 614 episodes, ranked fifth out of 10 studios reviewed, with white men accounting for 64 percent of the directors. Minority directors accounted for 23 percent of ABC episodes, while female directors were in charge of 21 percent.