GLAAD TV reports find no 'excellent' networks
History, TBS get 'failing' marks
It's not been an excellent year on television for LGBT characters.
On Friday GLAAD released two of its reports, the seventh annual Network Responsibility Index and the 18th annual Where We Are on TV report, and none of the networks received an excellent rating for having diverse LGBT characters and stories.
ABC, ABC Family, CW, FOX, MTV, NBC and Showtime were rated as "good"; CBS, FX, HBO, TLC, TNT and USA were "adequate"; and History and TBS received "failing" marks.
The ratings in the index were based on LGBT-inclusive content between June 2012 and May 2013, while Where We Are on TV relied on a character count and analysis of scripted characters in the upcoming 2013-2014 season. According to the data, the percentage of primetime broadcast scripted LGBT series regulars dropped to 3.3 percent from a record high of 4.4 percent last season. There was diversity, however. The report showed that there will be an equal number of women and men among LGBT characters during the 2013-2014 broadcast season, which means the storylines are moving beyond just featuring white gay males.
"Last season was a stellar one when it comes to the sheer number of gay, lesbian and bisexual representations on television, though diversity within those storylines showed room for improvement," said a statement from GLAAD's Wilson Cruz. "Though the number of LGBT characters dropped this season, shows like 'The Fosters,' with an interracial female couple raising a family, and characters like Unique on 'Glee' have not only moved the conversation about LGBT people forward, but are also a hit with audiences."
Some of the other findings include:
On cable, ABC Family was the most inclusive network GLAAD tracked last year with 50 percent of its original programming including LGBT impressions or storylines. It was followed by FX at 40 percent. History received a failing grade with no LGBT images on any of its shows last season.
ABC and FOX are the only networks to show increases this year and have the highest percentage of LGBT characters at 5.4 percent each. The CW is in third place at 3 percent. CBS is no longer last with 1.9 percent of its regular characters being LGBT, while NBC dropped to 1 percent.
Of the 46 LGBT regular and recurring characters on broadcast networks, half are women and 28 percent are people of color.
While last year there weren't any regular transgender characters on broadcast television, there will be one this season with the character of Unique on "Glee." On cable, GLAAD counted 42 regular LGBT characters, up from 35 last season.
An additional 24 recurring characters were counted. HBO will have the most characters with a total of 11, followed by Showtime with eight characters. Of those LGBT characters, 39 percent are women and 29 percent are people of color. Only one transgender character, Adam on "Degrassi," was counted, though he no longer appears on the program.
Of the 796 overall regular characters on broadcast primetime, the percentage of female characters has declined somewhat to 43 percent. People of color will once again make up 23 percent of all regular characters, while just 1 percent will be depicted as people with disabilities.
"Our television images not only reach American audiences, but countless others around the world," Cruz said. "It is time for the television networks to make new and groundbreaking LGBT stories a priority once again."
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