Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee and American Horror Story, will head a new foundation with the goal of filling 50 percent of the director slots on his shows with women, people of color and LGBTQ members by the end of 2016.
The foundation, called Half, will be run through Murphy’s 20th Century Fox TV-based production company. Murphy was inspired to carve out a space for more diversity by an emotional speech his former publicist Nanci Ryder gave at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast.
“Nanci said, ‘People in power, you have a position and responsibility to change the industry,’ and I thought, ‘She’s right,’” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter.
Murphy plans on hiring a co-manager for the foundation as well as a database of names and contact info other showrunners can utilize to create a more diverse environment on set.
Furthermore, Half will begin outreach efforts at colleges and universities, beginning with visits to AFI, UCLA and USC before expanding around the country later this year. The foundation will partner candidates with mentors within Ryan Murphy Productions, as well as with internships and shadowing opportunities around Hollywood. Murphy wants young people to know there is a place for them in Hollywood.
“The industry has always been about, you come to us,” he says. “There’s not a lot of effort and inclusion, and I’m saying, ‘No, we’re going to go to you,’” Murphy said.