The results are in, and they are discouraging. The Writers Guild of America just released their 2013 TV Staffing Brief for the 2011-2012 TV season, and the outlook is as frustrating as ever:
Of 1722 writers who wrote for 190 shows, 519 or 30.5 percent of them were women, and 269 of them were people of color. For women, those numbers are up 5 percent from the 1999-2000 television season—as the report put it, “At this rate of increase, it would be another 42 years before women —roughly half of the U.S. population – reach proportionate representation in television staff employment.
This is devastating news for one simple reason: the less women and people of color represented in the writer’s room, the less stories of women we see on TV, and certainly the less diversity over all. Martha Lauzen from the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film refers to this phenomenon as “symbolic annihilation”. Without appropriate representation, we cease to exist. Geena Davis offered an insider view to this issue in the hit documentary 2011 Miss Representation. She states: “All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: That women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women. It is a horrible indictment of our society of we assume that one half of our population is just not interested in the other half.” So how can we change this dynamic? One solution is to support shows that better represent women and people of color. There are a few shining stars in this years line up. ABC’s new hit show Scandal starring Kerry Washington, NBC’s Deception starring Maegan Good, and Elementary, CBS’s number one new show starring Lucy Liu as the historically white male sidekick Watson to Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock. Another is to avoid those shows that least represent women and people of color, both in front of the camera, and in the writers room. And to help you, here is a quick breakdown of the worst offenders: Television Shows That Hired No Women Writers During The 2011-2012 Season America’s Funniest Home Big Time Rush Californication Comedy Bang! Bang! Dancing With The Stars Eagleheart Enlightened (Creator Mike White wrote all the episodes) Futurama Geniuses Gurland On Gurland The Insider Kickin’ It Locke & Key Magic City Psych Teen Wolf Veep Workaholics I Workaholics II Television Shows That Hired No People Of Color As Writers During The 2011-2012 Season America’s Funniest Home Videos Anger Management Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader Baby Daddy Best Friends Forever Big Time Rush Blue Mountain State Boss Breaking Bad Californication The Client List Comedy Bang! Bang! Dancing With The Stars Eastbound and Down Enlightened (Creator Mike White wrote all the episodes) The Firm Free Agents Futurama Game of Thrones Free Agents Geniuses A Gifted Man Glee Good Luck, Charlie Gossip Girl Gurland On Gurland Happily Divorced Hart of Dixie Homeland How To Be A Gentleman The Insider Jane By Design Kickin’ It Lab Rats Last Man Standing The League Longmire Make It Or Break It Man Up Mike and Molly Napoleon Dynamite Once Upon A Time One Tree Hill The Protector Ray Donovan Revenge State of Georgia Stevie TV Two And A Half Men Veep Web Therapy Weeds Workaholics I Workaholics II For more information, you can read the article or view the full report.