Press Room

Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Friday December 8, 2017

TV Diversity Bill Hits Governor Cuomo’s Desk


NEW YORK, NY (December 7, 2017) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is on the verge of making history as a landmark TV diversity bill supported by the Writers Guild of America, East and the Directors Guild of America has hit the desk to be signed into law.

The bill would provide a tax incentive for hiring women and people of color to write and direct television in New York. The legislation, which borrows from existing state law that addresses historic inequities in other parts of the state economy, is the first of its kind in the nation and passed both the Assembly and the Senate earlier this year.

The Governor has until midnight on December 18th to approve or veto the bill.

WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson said, “Everyone acknowledges the profound lack of diversity in the television industry.  There is no one saying, ‘oh, no, things are fine; no need to take action’.  Women and people of color are radically underrepresented as writers and directors of television, and Governor Cuomo can make history by signing the first piece of legislation that would take concrete action to tackle this long-standing problem.   If we want the television industry to remain healthy, to keep offering great jobs to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, the State must take action, now.”

“Talent should be the defining factor in hiring. This is an issue the DGA has sought to address with employers for years as we’ve pushed them to change their imbalanced hiring practices,” said Neil Dudich, Eastern Executive Director of the Directors Guild of America. “By encouraging studios, networks and producers to discover the talented New York TV directors and writers that are out there in abundance, this bill can be a meaningful step forward in establishing a level playing field for all.”

The years-long campaign to get a TV diversity bill to the Governor’s desk for passage has been supported by prominent television writers, directors, producers and filmmakers, including Tina Fey (UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT), Sarah Treem (THE AFFAIR), Robin Thede (THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDEE), Michael H. Weber (THE DISASTER ARTIST), Tom McCarthy (13 REASONS WHY), David Simon (THE DEUCE), Michael Arndt (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS), Nicholas Pileggi (GOODFELLAS), Tony Gilroy (THE BOURNE IDENTITY), Lucy Alibar (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD), Shari Springer Berman (AMERICAN SPLENDOR), Andrew Bergman (BLAZING SADDLES), Marshall Brickman (ANNIE HALL), James Schamus (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON), Matt Williams (HOME IMPROVEMENT), Anya Epstein (THE AFFAIR), Tom Fontana (OZ), Beau Willimon (HOUSE OF CARDS), Paul Haggis (CRASH), Jim V. Hart (HOOK), Richard LaGravenese (THE FISHER KING), Warren Leight (LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT), Julie Martin (LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT), Rebecca Miller (MAGGIE’S PLAN), Michael Rauch (ROYAL PAINS), Theresa Rebeck (SMASH), Robert Carlock (UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT), Geri Cole (SESAME STREET), Tanya Barfield (THE AMERICANS), Ashley Nicole Black (FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE), Joe Gonzalez (BOSCH) Cami Delavigne (QUANTICO), Amber Ruffin (LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS) and Jon Robin Baitz (THE SLAP).

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, news and digital media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit

In the 81 years since its founding in 1936, the DGA has fought for the economic and creative rights of its members; protected their ability to financially benefit from the reuse of their work; established strong pension and health plans; and established jurisdiction in new technologies and distribution platforms. Today we represent more than 17,000 directors and members of the directorial team working in film, television, commercials, new media and other audiovisual media.

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