Chairman of the FX Network, John Landgraf, reports that ‘nearly 60 percent of the writers on FX shows are women or people of color.’ After an investigation in 2015 by Maureen Ryan, the TV network learned that only 12 percent of the directors were women or people of color. With FX having the least diversity of all networks on television, Landgraf made it his mission to fix this.
“We don’t tell them what to do,” Landgraf told Variety in 2015. “Ultimately the decision of who hires directors for shows on FX is not made by FX. It’s made by people we’ve hired who are executive producers and showrunners.” Comments like this were repeated throughout the report. Nell Scovell, a TV writer, said that she’s found that, “People hire people they’ve worked with, or they hire people their friends have worked with.”
“In the long run, the best thing you could possibly do to improve the situation is have more showrunners that are women and people of color.” Landgraf’s shared with Variety.
Landgraf spoke at USC’s Institute On Entertainment Law And Business on Saturday. Variety reports that Landgraf felt “really embarrassed” and that there had been a “failure of leadership on [his] part,” after reading their investigation. The report led him to push diversity efforts at FX. Currently, over half of its directors for this season are women.
On Saturday, Landgraf told the audience, “We didn’t stop with directors.” He also talks about his thoughts on passing on Breaking Bad to do Damages instead, a show starring Glenn Close. “The decision to do Damages gave rise to Atlanta and The Mayans and Snowfall and Better Things. We’ve gotten more Emmy nominations and won more Emmys for female actors over 30 than any network in television for the last decade. So even though I missed a really great piece of programming, I think I made a good decision. … Our organization is better, in every respect, for having embraced the potential of our entire society.”
After talking about FX’s effort to increase diversity, Landgraf touched on the ‘streaming apocalypse’ that is currently happening.