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FX CEO Reports Significant Improvement in Diversity of Director Pool

An improvement of 12% people of color or women to 51%.

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While it’s fairly common knowledge that television networks have a problem with the overall diversity of their directorial pool, FX’s issues were particularly bad. Over the 2014-2015 season, only 12% of their directors were women or people of color. Now, however, FX seems to have been able to significantly improve those numbers, with 51% of their directors on FX and FXX identifying as men or women of color or white women. FX’s CEO, John Landgraf, chatted with Variety about the jump in numbers, and how committed they were to accomplishing such an improvement. Landgraf said:

We set a goal that wasn’t incremental but quantum, in terms of what we wanted to achieve. Part of it is, if you’re going to go from a laggard to a leader, try to get to something you can actually achieve and sustain that looks like real change.

Going from 12% to 51% is significant, but what also matters are the stories they’re helping bring to life. This is something Landgraf also seems to be aware of, as he explained:

I hadn’t been really focused on directors, I had been more focused on this question of storytellers in the broad sense, and how do we get everyone’s story told — not just white males. How do we get the right shows, the right executive producers? Because ultimately that changes the composition of the way a story is told and presented and it does ultimately change the composition of the employee base.

It’s refreshing to see a network CEO both share news of an improvement in numbers while also demonstrating that they understand why those numbers matter. It honestly really is about getting more stories told while also increasing representation on both sides of the camera.

Variety points out that these statistics may need to be taken with a grain of salt, however. Those percentages were based on DGA (Director’s Guild of America) analyses, which looks at a slightly different timeframe than FX. As they explain:

DGA stats are published on a year-to-year basis (and the guild will be releasing its report in a few weeks). FX, on the other hand, considered the most recent seasons of its comedy and drama series and the upcoming seasons of shows that have not yet debuted; thus the time frame covered by their data set is longer than a single year.

We’ll know in a few weeks how much of an impact FX has truly made on the diversity of their lineup. What we can be sure of, though, is that there is indeed a change in how they view diversity. Once again, it’s not just numbers. It’s all about the stories these directors, writers, creators of all kinds get to tell.

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