There's some serious girl power behind the TV show "Nashville," ABC's drama about the steamy, competitive country music scene.
Leading the charge are show creator Callie Khouri, Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Thelma & Louise," and veteran show runner Dee Johnson, formerly of "The Good Wife" and "Boss," among other shows.
Khouri even directed the show's season finale, which airs May 22. She'd directed a Steven Bochco pilot once, but it never made it on-air; so this episode will be her TV directing debut.
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All of this is especially gratifying considering the Directors Guild of America's most recent report on diversity in episodic TV for the 2011-2012 season. It found Caucasian males directed 73% of the work across broadcast and cable; Caucasian females, 11%; and minority females, 4%.
We traveled to Nashville two weeks ago to watch Khouri in action on the set. She was particularly warm and familial with the cast and crew, and especially open to collaboration with the actors. But she also manned the set with confidence and authority.
"It's real natural," she told us on a break. "It doesn't feel like 'Oh, I'm a woman director.' Statistically, from a pure numbers standpoint, it's depressing. But on set, it never feels like being a woman is a liability. I feel myself being heard."
Coming in Saturday's Los Angeles Times: Deborah Vankin's longer feature on Callie Khouri and the women of "Nashville."