Well-regarded TV leader Dungey began her role at Warner Media in January and didn’t waste any time. As of October, the Warner Bros. Television and Warner Bros. Unscripted Television divisions combined are producing more than 100 total series for streaming and cable partners, as well as the broadcast networks and local stations. Her wins include series orders for Warner Bros. Television’s first-ever scripted show at Peacock (straight-to-series order for “Mrs. Davis”) and Starz (“Shining Vale”) as well as HBO Max’s series order of comedy “Head of the Class.” She’d give the industry a C+ in terms of gender bias in TV shows. “The damsel in distress is a trope that has been really hard to eliminate. The plus in C+ indicates, for me, that there’s a desire in many parts of the industry to do better, but we have a long way to go,” she says.
What’s one way your company has broadened the recruiting process to ensure greater diversity?
WarnerMedia has worked rigorously to ensure a diverse recruitment process by establishing programs like Access to Action that provide individuals who haven’t traditionally had pathways into the entertainment industry with access to entry level and below-the-line jobs on our productions. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team works exclusively with local non-profits to source candidates from all walks of life in order to encourage and foster a more creative and inclusive production workforce that aligns with WarnerMedia’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
How would you rate the industry regarding gender bias in shows/characters?
I’d probably give the industry a C+. That’s based on improvements I’ve seen in my 25 years in the business. When I first started, it was taken as a given that boys and young men wouldn’t watch films or TV shows that had a female lead. That assumption has been proven to be wrong time and again…yet the same antiquated thinking still crops up. The damsel in distress is a trope that has been really hard to eliminate. The plus in C+ indicates, for me, that there’s a desire in many parts of the industry to do better, but we have a long way to go. We need more female and non-binary voices in the executive suites, in writers’ rooms, and behind the camera to get where we need to be.
What one female empowerment book do you think every woman should read?
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay