Fall 2019 Shows by the Numbers

It’s that time of year when broadcast networks proudly hype a string of new shows and viewers are buried in choices wondering which ones we’ll enjoy, which ones might have characters that represent us, and which ones we’ll tentatively make a commitment to while also being prepared for their untimely cancelation.

We’ve rated the 16 new shows*, done some analysis, and found some surprises!

Lots of good news:

  • More than half the shows met our recommendation criteria (56%)
  • Two shows scored a perfect 10 (Carol’s Second Act and Almost Family)
  • Almost two thirds of the shows have a female showrunner and/or creator (63%)
  • Almost two thirds of the shows have a female lead (63%)
  • Almost one third of the shows represent the LGBTQ community in the main cast (31%)
  • All the shows have diverse characters (more on that below)
  • Most of the shows have women in leadership behind the camera (more below)

The Shows

There are seven comedies, seven dramas, and two mystery/action/crime shows. The subjects have been seen before – lawyers, action heroes, families, but what’s different is more representation on screen, more women in lead roles, and more women in leadership behind the camera.

Met PictureParity criteria                                                              

Carol’s Second Act – 10

Almost Family – 10

Bless the Harts – 9

Emergence – 8

Nancy Drew – 7.5

Batwoman – 7.5

Bob Hearts Abishola – 7

mixed-ish – 7

Evil -7

Didn’t meet PictureParity criteria

All Rise – 6.5

Bluff City Law – 6

Stumptown – 6

Perfect Harmony – 5.5

The Unicorn – 5.5

Sunnyside – 4.5

Prodigal Son – 4

Behind the camera

Women are well-represented particularly in executive producer and writing roles and less well represented in direction. And, as noted above, there is a surprising number of shows created by women and/or have female showrunners. Nearly half of the women in behind the camera roles for these shows are women of color and/or gay. These roles and diversity within them are important because more women in leadership behind the camera translates to more women on screen, in stronger roles, and more time devoted to women’s stories

Eight of the shows are created by women and 6 of those have a female in the lead role. Eight shows have a female showrunner and 7 of those have a female lead.

Ten of the new shows have a female lead. For those shows, the numbers of women behind the camera are as follows: 6 creators, 7 showrunners, 3 directors, 7 writers, and 9 producers.

On screen

This year we’ve seen an uptick in representation of diverse women on screen. Every one of these shows (100%!) has LGBTQ representation (31%), racial diversity (94%) and/or a woman over 40 (81%) in the main cast. Most have an intersection of the three. As with women in leadership roles behind the camera, having main characters that represent a wide range of women is so important. Viewers connect when they see themselves on screen, feel seen and validated, and can be inspired by what they see.

The Networks

  • The CW has the highest percentage of shows that met our criteria – 100%
  • CBS has the highest number of shows that met our criteria (this is surprising. CBS is consistently the network with low PictureParity ratings overall)
  • NBC has the highest number of shows that didn’t meet our criteria (this is also surprising because NBC consistently has higher rated shows overall)

Enjoy this season’s bumper crop of new shows and particularly show your support for those on the “Met PictureParity criteria!” Let’s demonstrate that shows with good numbers of women behind the camera and on screen can be successful for networks.


PictureParity rates shows using a 10-point system to assess gender equity by title

In many cases, there is limited information about these new shows. We’ve rated them based on currently available information and will update them as we learn more