Ryan Murphy Just Did What Literally Every TV Producer Should Do

Photo: Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
Ryan Murphy knows how to make viewers feel a whole range of emotions with shows like The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and American Horror Story. But his intentional move to make sure the creatives behind his hit titles don’t all look like him — white and male — has us feeling really, really good. According to The Hollywood Reporter, more than 60% of the director jobs on his shows are held by women.

Murphy’s plan to diversify TV’s creative corner was born out of his own struggles to find community as a gay man in the industry. Murphy told THR that working on his first show Popular in the '90s, he felt “like a stranger in a strange land.” He, like us, wanted better for the industry. And this year he did something about it.

The girl power that keeps his shows running is a result of Murphy’s foundation, Half, which creates a mentor-based pipeline for women, people of color, and LGBT people to occupy more than half of the director spots on all of Murphy's series. Outside of director positions, Murphy demands that department heads hire a staff of at least 50% women when they can. And with American Crime Story, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, and Feud all under Murphy’s name, there's more than enough work to go around. Scream Queens’ Jamie Lee Curtis and AHS’s Angela Bassett both got to add some directorial credits under Murphy’s initiative.

This propensity for diversity might explain how a Black woman survived a horror plot and a white person was gunned down by police in this season of American Horror Story. When outside of Murphyland only 17% of TV directors are women, inclusivity is still the best plot twist.
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