At NBC, we recognize that our industry can and needs to do more to have women represented in the director’s chair. With only 21% of scripted television episodes directed by women in the 2016-17 season*, now more than ever it’s important to provide talented female directors with the same opportunities as their male counterparts. NBC’s annual initiative Female Forward aims to solve that problem by giving female directors a pipeline into scripted television. We believe that collectively we can achieve gender parity among scripted series’ directors by systematically increasing the number of experienced women in the field. In the program, selected female directors are given the opportunity to shadow on up to three episodes of an NBC series. Their experience culminates with an in-season commitment for each participant to direct at least one episode of the series she shadows. We partnered with acclaimed TV director Lesli Linka Glatter to shepherd the program with NBC executives as well as chair the advisory council of celebrated directors. Glatter and the council members participate in the selection process and serve as advisors and mentors for the finalists throughout the program.
The program joins the NBC Talent Infusion Programs, the network’s robust diversity and inclusion initiatives, that under the leadership of Karen Horne, Senior Vice President, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, have discovered and developed diverse onscreen and behind-the-scenes talent including Donald Glover, Jenny Hagel, Lil Rel Howery, Mindy Kaling, Sharat Raju and Alan Yang.
*Directors Guild of America 2016-17 Episodic TV Director Diversity Report