This Man Says “White Guy” TV Is Blocking Female Writers
Despite a wave of new female-driven shows on all the major networks, cold, hard statistics show the trends are moving against women in television. A study from San Diego State University shows that the percentage of female writers in network primetime has dropped by more than half since 2006, to 15%. And Kurt Sutter (above), creator of FX’s biker drama Sons Of Anarchy and all-around manly man, explains it as a result of the whole way TV makes money. Speaking to AOLtv’s Maureen Ryan, he states: “Just look at the primary measuring statistic for a viewing audience, the only statistic that matters financially—males 18-49. Networks demand that shows be aimed at that target audience. They have to. That’s what advertisers demand of them. No ads, no TV. So by default, for the most part, we are creating television for white guys.”
The famously blunt Sutter, who recently referred to the Emmys as a “profiteering douchebag academy” after being snubbed in the nominations, goes on to confess even he has neglected hiring female writers while searching for authentically written male characters. “I’m not saying that women can’t write male characters. Some do, very well. But men can write male characters more accurately.”
TV writer Jill Soloway agrees that ad dollars are driving the male-centered programing, but sees an even bigger problem when trying to create similar female-driven programming. Soloway wonders “if a network would air a show where a woman was talking about masturbating and farting (in an awesomely deep way, mind you). The answer is no—not because networks hate women, not because studios refuse to hire women creators—but because there is no brand that would be willing to be associated with the idea of such an anti-heroic woman.”
What do you think? Is there any way for women to take back primetime TV?