NBC recruits TV vets to battle female director shortage

NBC has recruited a batch of television veterans, who have worked on shows like “How I Met Your Mother” and “This Is Us,” to help guide the next generation of female directors.

On Tuesday, the network marked the official start of the application period for Female Forward, an initiative that aims to bulk up the ranks of female television directors, by announcing an advisory and mentor council filled with people who have collectively overseen hundreds of hours of television.

The 2018-19 council includes “How I Met Your Mother” director Pamela Fryman, “This Is Us” director Ken Olin, “Modern Family” director Gail Mancuso, and Norberto Barba (“Mayans MC”).

Ruben Fleischer (“Superstore”), Liz Friedlander (“Conviction”), Nisha Ganatra (“Transparent”), Peter Horton (“Electric Dreams”), Julie Anne Robinson (“Castle Rock”), Millicent Shelton (“Marvel’s Runaways”) and Michael Spiller (“Champions”) are also among the mentors.

Female Forward was announced back in August by NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke, who is heading the program in collaboration with multi-Emmy Award-nominated TV director Lesli Linka Glatter.

“We already have some great initiatives in place for female and diverse directors. However, it’s clear our industry needs to take it to the next level,” Salke said in a statement via NBC.

As part of the program, 10 women will shadow a director for up to three episodes of an NBC series and receive a chance to direct at least one episode of that series.

The goal, Salke previously told CNN, was to help the participants get their foot in the door and add credits to their name, hopefully lead to additional directing work in the television industry.

NBC said it hopes to expand the number of participants per year in subsequent years.

Applications are being accepted starting Tuesday, until January 17.

“It’s incredibly exciting to know that we will add 10 working females a year to the currently very unbalanced pool of working television directors,” Salke added. “The guaranteed commitment to helm an episode, coupled with our incredible council of mentors, will make such a meaningful difference in reaching our goals to create gender parity in the director’s chair.”