Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, American Horror Story and Scream Queens, will head a new foundation aimed at significantly increasing the number of female and minority directors on his series. The foundation, dubbed Half, will be run through Murphy’s 20th Century Fox Television-based production company.
Murphy’s TV series have helped over two dozen people earn their Directors Guild of America cards, but only a handful of them were women. “I personally can do better,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that a recent emotional speech by former publicist Nanci Ryder as well as the outcry over the Oscars’ lack of diversity inspired him to found Half. “Nanci said, ‘People in power, you have a position and responsibility to change the industry,’ and I thought, ‘She’s right.'”
Only 16 percent of all television show episodes during the 2014-15 season were helmed by women, while 18 percent were directed by minorities. By the end of 2016, Murphy hopes to ensure that at least 50 percent of episodes from his three current TV series – American Horror Story, American Crime Story and Scream Queens – are directed by women or minority candidates, which he defines as “people of color or members of the LGBTQ community.”
“The industry has always been about, ‘You come to us,'” Murphy added. “There’s not a lot of effort and inclusion, and I’m saying, ‘No, we’re going to go to you.'” Half will launch extensive outreach efforts at colleges and universities starting this year, with candidates linking up with mentors within Ryan Murphy Productions.