Starz hosted its virtual event, “Starz: Take The Lead,” featuring President and CEO of the network, Jeffrey A. Hirsh, and four special guests; Executive Director at Alliance of Women Directors, Annalea Arnold, Former FCC Commissioner Diversity Champion, and Lionsgate Board Member, Mignon Clyburn, Managing Partner at Mckinsey, Liz Hilton Segel, and Actress/Director and Acting Coach, Tasha Smith. The event highlighted its efforts toward becoming a more inclusive network and how it has become one of the most diverse media companies in terms of its leadership teams and content. “We’re proud of the opportunities we’ve created for female and diverse directors thus far, but know there is more we can do,” said Hirsch.
Starz has one of the highest minority representations both on-screen and behind the scenes, with a team that includes one of the highest percentages of women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups, with a team of 75% women, and 50% minority women. Its directors are 43.7% women and 49.3% people of color, executive producers with41.2% women and 47.1% people of color, and over 29% people of color serving as writers.
Starz recently initiated a partnership with the Alliance of Women Directors, which hosts workshops and events to promote career advancement for women and people of color. In addition to its partnership with the AWD, the network has kicked off its new “Take The Lead Directors Program,” which provides mentorship to women, people of color, and other social groups interested in receiving directing training and other career developments. Through the partnership, monthly “Transparency Talks” are hosted to bring forth related discussions alongside members of other key organizations. “We’re thrilled to launch STARZ #TakeTheLead Directors Program with AWD. Since mentoring programs don’t always materialize into staff opportunities, we’re excited that this program includes a commitment to not only support but ultimately hire talented directors who just need an opportunity to put their skills into action,” said Hirsch.
Though an increasing number of media companies such as Starz and Netflix have pushed forth diversity and engaged in its new trends due to its above-average profitability, some of the challenges the industry continues to face are often being questioned about their capability to direct all genres, including action and comedy and their varying perspectives carrying more empathy and compassion. The company hopes to continue airing the voices and opinions of colored creatives, those who suffer from mental health, and the older population as it further validates the importance of their perspectives and professional work. “More women and people of color behind the camera translates to stories on screen that are more authentic and reflective of our world,” Arnold said. “By amplifying narratives by, about, and for women, STARZ is making impactful change in the industry and has raised the bar of what inclusion looks like."
More women and people of color behind the camera translates to stories on screen that are more authentic and reflective of our world. By amplifying narratives by, about, and for women, STARZ is making impactful change in the industry and has raised the bar of what inclusion looks like.” Annalea Arnold Executive Director, Alliance of Women Directors