The Still Sorry Stats on Women Working Behind the Scenes on TV

by Melissa Silverstein on September 14, 2009

in Statistics,TV

tv setMartha Lauzen and her team at the Center for Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State U. have updated the statistics on women creatives working behind the scenes during the 2008- 2009 TV season.

Here are the stats: (keep in mind these are only for the five major networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW)

Total: women comprised 25% of all creators, executive producers, producers, directors, writers, editors, and directors of photography working on situation comedies, dramas, and reality programs.  This is down 1% from 2007-2008.

Overall, women fared best as producers (35%), followed by writers (29%), executive producers (23%), creators (21%), editors (18%), directors (9%), and directors of photography (4%)

Women accounted for 23% of executive producers up 1% from last year.

Women comprise 35% of producers down 2% since 2007-2008.

Women made up 29% of writers; up from 23%.

Women made up 9% of directors, down 2 points.

Women made up 18% of editors and 4% of directors of photography, up one percent and 3 percent respectively.

Women comprised the largest percentage of behind-the-scenes individuals at ABC (30%), followed by CBS (26%), NBC and CW (24%), and Fox (19%)


I’d really love for them to add the cable networks like Lifetime and TNT into these calculations.  There are many creative women at those networks and they should be entered into the mix.

The power job in TV is the executive producer and women hold only 23% of those.  If you watch TV you know that shows are targeted at women (because women make the buying decisions and TV is all about advertising unlike films) so shows that are created for women are mostly by men.  Not too surprising.

I’m going to venture to guess that the category of producer includes all producers (remember these are also writers on TV) like consulting producers, supervising producers, co-producer and associate producers and the writer category includes executive story editor, story editor, and staff writer.

The fact that the writer category grew is great, but let’s remember that the staff writers are at the bottom rung of power in TV.  So women’s opportunities grew in the least powerful area.

It’s also not good news that women lost 2 points in the producing category, and don’t get me started about how low the number of women directors there are.  The industry should really be ashamed that they employ so few women as directors.

There is still so much work to do to gain parity.

Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: