Representation both on and off screen is so important. With the recent events and protests happening in the world at large, there’s also been a huge push for inclusion and diversification in the television. Members at every rank of the TV industry have been taking a look at their role and responsibility to help make the television landscape a more diverse and inclusive one. Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras is one of the most recent industry leaders to speak out about getting more Black, Indigenous and People of Colour working in TV.
Andras spoke about the topic during a panel for QFX Cloud Con, an online pop culture convention for the queer community, that was held on Saturday afternoon. It also featured Wynonna Earp cast members Katherine Barrell and Natalie Krill who joined Andras to discuss Wynonna’s upcoming Season 4, premiering Sunday, July 26 at 10/9 c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.
When asked about what her plans were to increase BIPOC people working behind the scenes on Wynonna Earp, Andras was told by the moderator that she could pass on the question if she didn’t want to answer. “I’m a decision maker in Canadian TV. I have absolutely no right to pass on this question because I have the ability to pull people up on my team,” said Andras. She went on to confirm that many conversations about diversifying Canadian TV are being had.
More specifically, Andras said she “would really like to shout out to the writers in Canadian TV.” She explained that many writers are currently speaking with the Writers Guild of Canada “right now about how to improve this.” She said that the lack of diversity in writing rooms and behind the scenes is “a huge problem in Canadian TV. We just aren’t getting people in the pipeline, for lack of a better term, fast enough. There just aren’t enough people who are BIPOC or Indigenous getting trained and getting into the system. We have to take responsibility for that.”
Andras did concede that there are challenges she and many others face, but was not offering up these as an excuse. An example of one challenge is that “our numbers are limited,” and for Wynonna Earp and Andras that means “my writing room is 5 people.” However, she did say that she is “very conscious that if I have a choice between someone who is a Person of Colour, or queer, or Indigenous, I feel like it’s my job as a showrunner to pull them up and hire them and help them.”
While Andras said this is “an ongoing discussion and 100% is just simply not happening fast enough,” that now more than ever, people in power positions in the industry “just can’t wait around for other people to do it.” Two things that can be done in her eye to help would be “to increase funding for programs for people from marginalized communities. The other thing that’s really important is giving those people the support and the tools to tell their own stories. We need more Black showrunners and Queer showrunners to tell their own stories. We have to get more different stories on television.”
For Andras and many others fighting for increased diversity behind the scenes, now is “a time to tell all these stories that have never been told.” Andras finished her answer to the question by acknowledging that this is “an ongoing struggle,” but is also one she knows she needs to help solve. “I will never ever fault someone for asking me that question because I am part of the solution. And I have to take responsibility for that.”
Wynonna Earp Season 4 will premiere Sunday, July 26 at 10/9 c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.