Susan Lewis

Lewis continues to play a key role in expanding Starz’s original series lineup, developing and overseeing production of new scripted shows including “P-Valley” from Katori Hall and acquiring the drama series “Dublin Murders.” “What I don’t want to see happen are shows for black audiences and shows for white audiences,” she says. “Ideally, we can find spaces and places where there is true inclusion behind and in front of the camera that is reflective of the world we actually live in today.”

How can diversity be better incorporated into the recruiting process?
Diversity can be better incorporated into the recruiting process by making it company policy; not something that people can decide to opt in to if they want to. For example, JJ Abrams’ company Bad Robot has a standing policy in which women and minorities are submitted for jobs in direct proportion to their representation among the US population.

Can you share a successful diversity program at your company or one you’ve observed at another company or organization?
Yes, the program I mentioned at JJ Abrams’ company seems to be working well. They have hired women and people of color for key jobs on big projects. For example, they hired Vic Mahoney to be the second unit director on the new “Star Wars,” movie which is a giant breakthrough for women and women of color.

Which current television show/s best embrace diversity?
There are several shows that embrace diversity on the surface (casting). Shows from “The Affair” and “Billions” to “Stranger Things” are all incorporating characters of color, which is great. I’m more interested in who the creators of color are that are developing their own shows; who are the executive producers that are being invited into the rooms where decisions are being made? What I don’t want to see happen are shows for black audiences and shows for white audiences (or, shows for Latinx audiences, etc). Ideally, we can find spaces and places where there is true inclusion behind and in front of the camera that is reflective of the world we actually live in today.

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