DGA Reports Half of 2018-2019 TV Episodes Helmed by Female & Minority Directors

The DGA has released their new Episodic Television Director Inclusion Report for the 2018-2019 TV Season. This year, for the first time ever, female and minority TV directors have directed half of all episodic TV shows. According to the Directors Guild’s latest diversity report, that’s up from last year’s record high of 42.5%, and up from just 21% five years ago.

Further breaking down the data in the table below, the percentage of episodes directed by women grew to a record 31%, more than doubling in the past five years; and the percentage of episodes helmed by directors of color rose to a new high of 27%, increasing more than 40% in the past five years.

“Inclusion has been a priority of our Guild for a very long time as we’ve pushed the studios, networks and producers to do better in their hiring,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. “While change had been glacial in past years, we’re pleased and incredibly encouraged to see the recent commitment undertaken by the industry.”

The new DGA report examined over 4,300 episodes produced in the 2018-19 television season. This number is down from just over 4,400 episodes the season before, representing the second consecutive year of declines following an all-time high of roughly 4,500 episodes in the 2016-17 season. According to the DGA’s analysis, the main reasons for this decrease include the ongoing decline in the number of basic cable dramatic series, and the overall trend of short orders – fewer series episodes per season.

Comparing figures for the 2018-19 TV season with 2017-18, this year’s report shows that:
• The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian males decreased from 57% to 50%;
• The percentage of episodes directed by minority males increased from 17% to 19%;
• The percentage of episodes directed by Caucasian females increased from 19% to 22%;
• The percentage of episodes directed by minority females increased from 6% to 8%.

The report also highlights the problems surrounding the idea of “Perk hiring” saying that despite the recent progress, the DGA’s long-term analyses have repeatedly shown that most first-time directors don’t move on to develop directing careers. The Guild’s research found that the key driver behind that drop-off is the widespread and growing practice of employers giving ‘perk’ directing assignments to series insiders – i.e. those employed on a series in another capacity – who are far less diverse as a group than non-affiliated directors, and who have infrequently gone on to have a career in directing. The DGA’s studies following the career paths of first-time directors over the past decade have found that less than a quarter of series insider hires developed directing careers. DGA found that 55% of these first-time episodic TV directing jobs went to cast and crew members already affiliated with their shows. 

The report analyzed the ethnicity and gender of directors hired to direct episodic television series across Broadcast, Basic Cable, Premium Cable, and original series made for Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD). Pilots are not included in the statistics. The DGA regularly refines its methodology for this annual report as new information becomes available. The Guild 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. All figures in this report are rounded to the nearest percentage or tenth of a percentage.

Read the full report.