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FX's John Landgraf says more than half of the network's writers are not white men

Photo: Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

In 2015, a Variety study on diversity among TV directors discovered that only 12 percent of the directors working on FX shows that season were women or people of color, the lowest across all networks that year. Since then, FX boss John Landgraf has evidently made it his personal mission to change that—which makes sense, since that’s the sort of thing that is his literal job—and at a recent event with USC’s Institute On Entertainment Law And Business, he explained just how much progress his network has made. As reported by Variety, Landgraf says that he was “really embarrassed” by the report and it made him realize that there had been a “failure of leadership on [his] part.”

This season, Landgraf says over half of the directors on FX shows were women, but (even though this does seem a bit self-congratulatory) he adds that he didn’t want to stop there. Now, nearly 60 percent of the writers on FX shows are women or people of color. Also, speaking of being weirdly self-congratulatory, Landgraf noted that he technically correct to have passed on Breaking Bad years ago in favor of Glenn Close’s Damages, because one was a show about a white man and the other was a show about a woman. Breaking Bad was a big hit and one of the most critically acclaimed shows of the last few decades, but he says “Damages gave rise to Atlanta and The Mayans and Snowfall and Better Things,” so maybe there’s an alternate reality somewhere with an FX that aired Breaking Bad and became a haven for shows about a straight white men.

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Though it’s not really related to that, Landgraf also touched on the upcoming streaming apocalypse, saying there’s not enough room in the already-saturated TV market for so many new streaming services. Luckily, as Landgraf notes, it’s not his job to figure out how to compete with Netflix, he just has to make FX as good as it can be. With Disney running things now, the mouse people are the ones who have to figure out how to beat Netflix.

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