Women had a dramatically reduced role behind the scenes during the 2010-11 television season, one also marked by fewer actresses onscreen. Only 15% of writing jobs for prime time shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW were held by women, compared with 29% in the previous season, according to a new study. Women accounted for 11% of television directors, down from 16% in the 2009-10 season. Program creators fell to 18% from 21%, and producers dropped to 37% from 39%. As for onscreen jobs, 41% of all on-air characters were female, down from 43%, an all-time high, in the previous season. The male-to-female ratio differed by genre and network. Reality programs had the highest percentage of women working behind the scenes (28%), followed by drama series (25%) and comedies (22%). For reality shows, that percentage was unchanged from last season, but the female ranks shrank for both dramas and comedies, which were 27% female last season. Women also were more heavily represented onscreen in reality shows (46% of all characters), followed by dramas (40%), then comedies (34%). The CW and ABC led the networks with the highest percentage of women behind the scenes (28%); this compared with 26% at CBS, 22% at NBC and 18% at Fox. Additionally, 52% of characters on CW shows were female, with 43% on ABC, 40% on CBS, 39% on Fox and 36% on NBC. The study surveyed cable programming for the first time this year and found that 23% of those working behind the scenes were women. In cable, women accounted for 31% of producers, 25% of writers, 24% of editors, 21% of executive producers, 20% of creators, 10% of directors and 0% of directors of photography. The San Diego State University-based Center for Study of Women in Television and Film has been conducting its study since 1995-96, and does so by surveying one random episode from each network series in a season.

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