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2015 Fall TV calendar highlights Hollywood’s pathetic attempt at equality

Remember when music festival lineups were stripped down? to show how few female acts there actually were? It was pathetic. But what’s worse? It’s still a problem in our television programming as well — across all networks.

To prove this, we removed all of the television shows premiering this fall with a male lead from our September and October premiere calendars. To determine what shows had a female lead, we took a look at how the cast was billed on IMDb.

Here’s how it looks: 


September TV premiere calendar GIF

*You can also view the calendars separately here.

Out of 58 television shows, only 17 had a female lead. Broken down by network:

  • ABC: Eight out of 20 (40 percent)
  • CBS: Two out of 14 (14 percent)
  • NBC: Three out of nine (33 percent)
  • Fuse: One out of two (50 percent)
  • Fox: Three out of 14 (21 percent)


October TV premiere calendar GIF

*You can also view the calendars separately here.

In October, about half had a female lead — 11 out of 25 premieres. Broken down by network:

  • The CW: Five of 10 (50 percent)
  • CBS: Four of four (100 percent)
  • Fox: One of two (50 percent)
  • FX: One of one (100 percent)
  • ABC: Zero of two
  • BBC America: Zero of one
  • AMC: Zero of one
  • NBC: Zero of four

But are we really surprised by this? According to a recent study by The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film in 2014, titled “Boxed In,” 40 percent of all speaking characters and 40 percent of all major characters (on broadcast networks, cable and Netflix programs) were female in 2013-2014 — a 1 percent decrease from 2012-2013, but a 3 percent increase from 1997-98. Also according to this report, the programs airing on ABC featured the highest percentage of female characters (44 percent), followed by CBS (42 percent), Fox (41 percent), The CW (40 percent) and NBC (39 percent).

As for race, 77 percent of female characters were white, 13 percent were African American, 4 percent were Latina, 4 percent were Asian and 2 percent were of some other race or ethnicity.

How do these stats compare to this year’s shows? Based on the calendars above, here’s how they rank:

  • The CW leads the charge, with 50 percent of their premieres featuring a female protagonist. Compared to last year, looks like this has increased by 10 percent.
  • ABC comes in second with 36 percent — decreasing by 8 percent, compared to the aforementioned 44 percent.
  • Then CBS with 33 percent — decreasing by 9 percent.
  • NBC has 23 percent — decreasing by 16 percent.
  • Lastly, Fox rounds out the list at 21 percent — a decrease of 20 percent.
Here’s hoping next year’s TV lineup will have more strong, female leads — and diverse ones at that!

What are your thoughts on female representation in this year’s fall TV premieres? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: Terese Condella/SheKnows

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