The Great Divide - Broadcasting & Cable

The Great Divide

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Gender-equitable hiring on Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends and JAG apparently operates on an Olympic Games schedule. None of those shows has hired a female director during the past four seasons, according to a report released by the Directors Guild of America.

In fact, the percent of female directors working on the top 40 prime time shows on broadcast TV dropped from 11% last season to 7% this season.

What gives?

After all, according to Lesli Linka Glatter, whose credits include Twin Peaks, The Gilmore Girls and many Steven Bochco dramas, hiring female directors is just smart business. They'll work harder, in part because there's more at stake, she says. "If you don't do a good job, they won't hire another woman director."

Janice Cooke-Leonard agrees. Grabbing her first directorial gig on Dawson's Creek was tough, but finding time to hone her craft was tougher.

"The first 15 hours are the most difficult," says Cooke-Leonard, who regularly directs Lifetime's female cop drama The Division.

What's the alternative? Running a network like Judy McGrath?

There are lots of opportunities to direct on cable, assures Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, president and CEO of Women in Cable and Telecommunications: "They take more risks."

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