NBC Announces Plan to Foster Female Directors with Goal of Gender Parity Across Scripted Series

NBC is supercharging its inclusion efforts with "Female Forward," a new annual initiative focused on female directors and a commitment to work toward gender parity among scripted series directors across the network. Spearheaded by NBC President Jennifer Salke in partnership with acclaimed director Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men, Homeland, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders), the new program will give 10 female directors the opportunity to shadow up to three episodes of an NBC series, culminating in an in-season commitment to direct at least one episode of the series she shadows.

This new investment builds on NBC's current talent pipeline programs, which under the leadership of Salke's lieutenant, Karen Horne, Senior Vice President, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, has been dedicated to increasing representation of television directors of diverse backgrounds for nearly a decade. "Female Forward" will begin with the 2018-19 season on 10 NBC series with the intent of expanding the number of directors and shows in subsequent years.

"It's been a collective and urgent goal of ours to identify more female directors. We strongly believe women can and should be at the forefront of telling compelling stories, and I hope the guaranteed directing component will have real impact on our shows as well as the industry," said Salke. "It's an honor to have a partner and advocate in the amazing Lesli Linka Glatter, who shares these ideals with us and has passionately acted as a mentor to other women throughout her career. In addition to Lesli, we are thrilled with the enthusiastic response to this initiative, not only from our own Universal Television studio and producing partners, but also from outside suppliers and showrunners."

"It shouldn't be harder for our daughters to direct than for our sons, it should be an equal playing field," said Linka Glatter. "I'm truly optimistic that with this kind of commitment from the incredible Jen Salke and NBC Entertainment, we can actually make a difference. A program like this is a game changer and it's an honor to be a part of it."

"It's absolutely thrilling to help forge a path for female directors in such a meaningful way, and this new initaitive is a great complement to our current Emerging Directors Program, which has been one of our tentpole talent pipeline programs for nearly a decade," said Horne. "Our programs have discovered, nurtured and promoted people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers with great success stories, including Sharat Raju, Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling and Lil Rel Howery. There's no DOUBT in my mind that this program will springboard the success of many future female directors and I'm very much looking forward to that future."

About the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS)

Since 2000, NBC has been dedicated to discovering and nurturing on screen and behind-the-camera talent of diverse and inclusive backgrounds through the NBC Talent Infusion Programs (NBC TIPS). NBC TIPS are amongst the most extensive and robust diversity and inclusion programs in the television industry. They feature more than 20 programs including Writers on the Verge, the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, Emerging Directors Program, StandUp NBC nationwide search for stand-up comedians and the NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL that celebrates diverse stories and the filmmakers who create them. Program alumni are celebrated producers, writers, directors and actors in the entertainment industry who have gone on to win Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards and include Alan Yang, Mindy Kaling, Deon Cole, Lil Rel Howery, Keto Shimizu, Natasha Rothwell, Danny Pudi and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel. For more information, visit NBCUniTIPS.com.



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