Have you caught the latest seasons of BET’s Being Mary Jane, The Game or Single Ladies? Great TV, it’s true, but there’s something unique about each of these shows aside from intriguing storylines and compelling characters: every single episode was directed by a female or minority.
This sets the shows apart from any other broadcast, cable or Internet series according to a comprehensive study released by the Directors Guild of America. The organization examined 3,900 episodes across more than 250 scripted series and compiled lists of the best and worst programs for hiring women and minority directors. Those three BET shows were the only ones to hire a woman or minority to direct every single episode.
“I am so proud of the work that we do every day in front of the cameras and behind-the-scenes,” said BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee in a memo to employees congratulating them on the accomplishment. “Congratulations to the Programming team for being committed to telling our stories in an authentic way by making diversity a priority in every aspect of our production process. We will continue to expand opportunities in the industry by hiring talented directors from all walks of life. And we will continue to deliver compelling content that entertains and empowers our audience. We know there is more work to do to reflect the true diversity of our audience in the U.S. and around the globe – and we are proud to be the network that leads by example.”
While BET swept the top three positions on the “best” list, eight other Viacom programs (including four by MTV and three by Nickelodeon), made an appearance among the top 50:
8) Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn – Nickelodeon – 74 percent
18) Instant Mom – Nickelodeon – 60 percent
24) See Dad Run – Nickelodeon – 53 percent
27) Happyland – MTV – 50 percent
29) Hit the Floor – VH1 – 50 percent
33) Awkward – MTV – 48 percent
38) Finding Carter – MTV – 45 percent
50) Faking It – MTV – 41 percent
There is still more work to do, as the DGA’s “worst” list points out, and Viacom will work tirelessly to build an even more diverse and welcoming workplace.