Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The "National Boys Club" Network: Where All-Male is a Losing Line-Up

Does NBC stand for National Boys Club?  The network recently announced its lineup of  new fall shows.  Not one new show was created by a woman or has a woman showrunner.  Joining them with a big fat zero is Fox.  CBS and ABC didn't do much better with one and three shows respectively.  Looking like a winner is the CW with four new shows created by women.

As Meryl Streep famously asks, "Don't the studios want the money?" We know from studies done of theater, that plays by women make on average 25% more profit than plays by men.  No study has been done yet to compare to movies, but Streep's comment at the 2012 Crystal and Lucy Awards goes on to point out that "five little movies aimed at women have brought in over $1.6 billion in worldwide box office."

Aside from the lack of new shows by women, there continues to be a dearth of women writers at all the networks.  Most returning shows with eight to twelve on their writing staffs have only one or two women staffed.  One small exception is ABC where the shows run by Shonda Rhimes, GREY'S ANATOMY and SCANDAL, have more less equal numbers of men and women who are writer/producers.

The big winner among all the network shows is also at ABC.  NASHVILLE, created and run by Callie Khourie, has eight of its ten writer/producer positions staffed by women.  In a recent interview, Khourie claimed that she didn't do this on purpose but simply hired "the best people." Whatever the case may be, NASHVILLE is a bona fide hit for ABC and returns in the fall for a second season.

And speaking of hits, who's got the least among the networks?  That would again be the National Boys Club that finds itself pulling in the lowest ratings of all the broadcast networks.

Perhaps a sports metaphor will get through where dollar signs don't.  Hey fellas, do ya really care so much about locker room comfort that yer giving out intentional walks to anyone with balls? So far, the few girls you've been sending up to bat have hit homers. Time to put some more gals in, coach.

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