Since its debut last winter, The X-Files‘ rebooted run has disappointed fans on several fronts—first by not living up to expectations, and later by having an entirely male team of writers. “How does this still happen?” asked a Washington Post headline back in June, when the all-male writers’ room was announced—a question echoed by the show’s co-star Gillian Anderson, who also highlighted the pitiful lack of female directors in the show’s long history.
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In the wake of the controversy, Fox Television’s Chairman and CEO Dana Walden revealed this morning that showrunner Chris Carter has assigned two episodes of the upcoming season—which will contain ten episodes in total—to female writers. Two episodes will also be directed by women.
“I think Chris is moving in the right direction,” Walden told reporters at the TCA Press Tour. “I don’t want to make excuses for anyone. I want to just explain that after 200-plus episodes of a show that has a very deep and specific mythology—where the fanbase has a very high expectation that the episodes are going to deliver on those easter eggs and be consistent with those original episodes—the tendency is to want to rely on the people [who] helped you on the original, when you’re just doing 10 episodes. The crew that was with Chris for a very long time happened to be a group of male writers.”
It’s interesting how often writers’ rooms in Hollywood just happen to be full of men! In any case, Walden claimed that hiring these female writers and directors wasn’t a corrective move—”I don’t believe [it was], because we had hired the writers before news broke of this particular situation. No one was replaced.”