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Where are the ladies? Fewer women finding work in network TV

August 23, 2011 |  3:37 pm

Number of women working in TV drops
The fall TV schedule promises to bring plenty of interesting women -- Zooey Deschanel! Whitney Cummings! Kat Dennings! Sarah Michelle Gellar! -- to prime time. And of course there are any number of women (can you say Tina Fey?) already there. Some of these shows feature female creators, writers and producers too.

But according to a report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University released yesterday,the bigger picture for women in the TV industry is not necessarily so encouraging. The study found that the number of women working as writers and directors on prime-time broadcast programs decreased substantially in the 2010-11 season: Women made up just 15% of writers on  prime-time network TV and only 11% of directors. Women characters also dropped.

Overall, the center said, women accounted for 41% of all on-air characters — down from the record-high 43% the year before — and constituted 25% of the people working as series creators, producers, executive producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography, a decrease of two percentage points.

Will the numbers increase this season? The report suggests that the key may be handing more women creative control: "Programs with at least one woman creator or writer featured more female characters than programs with no women creators or writers."

Read more on the report here.

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NBC hopes that women can save TV

-- Joy Press

twitter.com/joypress

Photo:Tina Fey, left, and Oprah Winfrey on an episode of NBC's "30 Rock." Credit: Nicole Rivelli / NBC.

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