It was a ritual every Wednesday night over a glass of pinot grigio, you turned on your TV, sat back, and lived life through Carrie Bradshaw eyes. Comparing your best…
This past broadcast pilot season had only one pilot helmed by a female director, and that project was not one of NBC’s. Now the network is boosting its effort to hire more female directors with their new Female Forward Initiative, which will occur annually, according to a report via Deadline. NBC President Jennifer Salke and director Lesli Linka Glatter (The Newsroom, Ray Donovan) will spearhead the initiative, which hopes to give ten female directors the chance to “shadow” up to three episodes of an NBC series, and a commitment to direct at least one episode upon their completion of the program. The program will begin in the 2018-19 season and will hopefully expand the number of directors involved in subsequent years. Their goal is to “achieve gender parity among scripted series directors across the network,” Deadline reports.
“It’s been a collective and urgent goal of ours to identify more female directors,” Salke said in a statement. “We strongly believe women can and should be at the forefront of telling compelling stories, and I hope the guaranteed directing component will have a real impact on our shows as well as the industry.”
Salke acknowledged what she called a “huge drought of female directors and females across the board” in the entertainment industry. “And we were really determined, after the pilot season and after staffing directors for the first season, to do something actionable about that finally,” she said.
Glatter, Salke’s partner in this new initiative, hopes to level the playing field and close the gender gap in Hollywood.“It shouldn’t be harder for our daughters to direct than for our sons. It should be an equal playing field. A program like this is a game changer and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”
Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, has high hopes for the future and compared the initiative to the network’s Emerging Directors Program – which has seeded diverse talent like Mindy Kaling, Sharat Raju, and LilRel Howery. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this program will springboard the success of many future female directors, and I’m very much looking forward to that future,” Horne said.
We’re so excited about this brilliant and long-overdue clap back at the lack of female diversity in Hollywood, specifically TV. It’s been a subject we’re passionate about for some time, as there are literally hundreds of talented women out there who are constantly passed over in favor of male talent, and it’s time to do something about it!
We salute NBC and all involved for being the first network to take a step forward and hope it inspires other networks and studios to do the same some day soon.