Fighting the future

A year after attempting to underpay lead actress, ‘X-files’ reportedly hires only male writers

Actress Gillian Anderson (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

A year on from The X-Files reboot — and an attempt by Hollywood executives at paying Emmy-winning lead actress Gillian Anderson half of what was being offered to her male co-star David Duchovny — the acclaimed TV show is set to begin its 11th season. Unfortunately, it appears that the sexism evident in the attempt at short-changing Anderson may not apply solely to actresses. According to a report from IndieWire, The X-Files creator Chris Carter has exclusively recruited male writers to write for the show.

The lack of women writers caught the attention of Anderson, who took to Twitter to criticize her bosses. She also noted that only two of the series 207 episodes in its first run on TV were directed by women.

Sadly, the lack of female voices present in the The X-Files is much more so the rule than it is the exception when it comes to broadcast TV. Of 39 new series being aired by ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox, and NBC this 2017-2018 season, only 35 percent of lead actors and 29 percent of showrunners are female, The Washington Post reported. Those numbers, furthermore, are distorted by the CW featuring a female showrunner for two out of every three of its shows. At the rest of the “Big Five Broadcasters,” fewer than one in three shows will have a female showrunner — including Fox, which has a female showrunner working on only 20 percent of their shows.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, some women have opted to create all-female writing teams of their own. The creators of Amazon series I Love Dick, Sarah Gubbins and Jill Soloway, exclusively hired female and gender non-conforming writers to tell the story of Chris, an experimental filmmaker exploring feminine desire. According to Soloway, however, that decision wasn’t made entirely deliberately.

“In this case, we wanted to hire people who we felt were familiar with the experiences that Chris [Kraus] had,” Soloway told The Huffington Post, referring to the author of the novel who inspired the series. “And it turned out, of the people we spoke to, the people who were the most likely to write about this in the most fearless, bombastic, vulnerable human way ended up being all women and gender nonconforming people.”

Ava DuVernay has also embraced the chance to create opportunities for her fellow Hollywood women — every episode in the first season of her series Queen Sugar was directed by a woman, a trend that DuVernay said would be continued throughout the second season.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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