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This is progress? A new report finds 88% of showrunners are white

The WGAW’s latest inclusion report found that while some advancements have been made for women and people of color, there are still major disparities.

This is progress? A new report finds 88% of showrunners are white
[Photo: Ahmet Yalçınkaya/Unsplash]

The Writers Guild of America West recently released its first-ever inclusion report card, and the findings are just as bleak as you would expect.

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For the 2017-2018 TV staffing season, 88% of showrunners were white. The report also breaks down data by gender and found that 83% of showrunners were men. The numbers are less depressing for staff writers (55% white, 50% men) and story editors (62% white, 47% men), but as the report clearly states, “Systemic discrimination against writers from historically underrepresented groups remains pervasive in the hiring of television writers.”

People with disabilities fared the worse, making up less than 1% of those employed as TV writers. Data on LGBTQ+ writers is incomplete, but the report does state that writers who identify in those communities have been told by agents and studio executives that they “don’t count as diverse.”

Overall, the WGAW’s report card shows signs of some progress but clearly not enough.

“As employment on TV series has doubled over the last decade, women have increased from 30% of the work force to 35%, and persons of color have increased their share from 17% to 27%,” the WGAW study states. “However, as this report shows, our industry’s problems are far from solved.”

Read the full report here.


Disclosure: Fast Company editorial staff is in the process of unionizing and is represented by the Writers Guild of America-East.

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About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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