fx directors

For the first time in the network’s history, FX will have more directors who are women and people of color than white men. FX’s diversity outreach has finally started to shift the balance behind the camera, as the line-up of FX directors of 2021 is set to be majority diverse.

During a keynote session at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, FX Networks chairman John Landgraf revealed that women and people of color will make up 63% of directors for FX shows in 2021, marking the first time in the network’s history that white male directors will not be in the majority.

According to Deadline, Landgraf revealed this stat while promoting the cable network’s diversity strategy, which FX has been actively working on since a 2015 Variety article by Maureen Ryan about the lack of diversity among TV directors showed that, at the time, a whopping 85% of FX’s directors were white men.

Landgraf admitted that he was “ashamed” by this number and that his initial reaction to Ryan’s article was “defensiveness.” But he added those figures were an “indictment” of the entire industry and that the “whole thing was rotten.”

To Landgraf’s credit, it seems that the article roused him and his team at FX to improve the network’s diversity behind the camera, including offering pay for reshoots and other financial backstops for new directors. FX already has a pretty diverse slate of shows like Atlanta, Better Things, Mrs. America, Pose, and Snowfall, and the network just had to balance out the diversity behind the scenes. By doing this, Landgraf said that the network began looking beyond other directors who had worked on premium dramas and comedies, with them instead turning their attention to theater directors, procedural directors, and more. “It turns out they were hiding in plain sight,” Landgraf said at the festival. Also worth noting is how he said “the quality of work we got from this new crop of directors was actually superior” to what they had before.

The line-up of the directors is the first step, with FX soon set to turn their eye on the diversity of everyone else below the line, including directors of photography and casting, as well as Landgraf’s own executive team. The FX chief revealed he is planning to hire an SVP of diversity and culture, who he referred to as “an ombudsman.”

“We genuinely want our productions to look like the population of the United States,” Landgraf said. “We haven’t solved the problem but we’ve begun the process to solve the problem. It’s time for this industry to change.”

FX’s efforts come in the wake of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement shaking up Hollywood practices, with studios and media companies making moves to strengthen the diversity of their hires across the board. It’s still early in the process, and more diversity doesn’t solve every problem in the industry, but it’s a start.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: