Fox, HBO most gay-friendly networks on television, says GLAAD report


Image Credit: Fox

Fox and HBO lead the broadcast and cable networks, respectively, with the most lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters on television, according to the “Where We Are on TV” report released today by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The 16th annual survey shows that LGBT characters account for 2.9 percent of scripted series regulars on the broadcast networks, which is down from a high of 3.9 percent last fall. Cable, too, has fewer portrayals: There are 29 LGBT characters on mainstream cable networks this year, which is on par with last year but down from a high of 40 in 2008. Additionally, GLAAD notes that it counted 25 recurring characters on cable.

In the broadcast realm, Fox — with very gay-friendly shows like Glee — leads the way with 6.8 percent of its characters being LGBT, or eight out of 117 series regulars. It’s a marked improvement from 2007, when Fox featured not one LGBT character as a series regular.

For the first time in six years, ABC is not the champ among its broadcast competition, coming in second, as its percentage of LGBT portrayals dropped from 7.2 percent in 2010 to 3.4 percent this year. (R.I.P. Brothers & Sisters.) NBC comes in third, with three regular LGBT characters, or 1.9 percent of its 154 regulars. CW comes in fourth, with just one portrayal, for 1.5 percent of its 67 characters. Meanwhile, CBS is in last place for the fourth year in a row: Only one of the network’s 134 series regulars is LGBT for a whopping 0.7 percent. (Apparently, though, the network will have more LGBT representations via recurring characters.)

HBO’s True Bloodwhich was singularly the most gay-friendly show on television last year — and Showtime’s Shameless tied for the most LGBT characters of any shows across television, with a total of six on each. On cable as a whole, HBO features the most with 11 LGBT characters, seven of which are series regulars. Rival Showtime also makes a great showing, with 10 total characters, followed by ABC Family, FX, and TeenNick with four characters each, and TNT and BBC America with three each.

As a part of the report, GLAAD also studied other characteristics of the series regular characters on broadcast television and found that five of the 19 LGBT characters (or 26 percent) are of color and none are people with disabilities. Also, not one LGBT character on the broadcast networks is black or transgender.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
2010 “Where We Are on TV” report: ‘True Blood’ most gay-friendly show on TV, officially

Comments (59 total) Add your comment
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  • Kami82

    Not one transgender?
    I could have sworn my brother talked about one on Degrassi

    • Gabe

      Yeah, there is a character on Degrassi who is a transgender. He was a girl but he’s changed his named and stuff to be a boy. Maybe broadcast networks just means the primetime shows.

      • Kami82

        Oooh, didn’t think of that :)
        There really should be more transgenders on TV, especially the female to male.

    • lisa g.

      Bulls hit! What abt bravo? Or logo?!?

  • Pat

    glee is the worst show for television ever made, and that says alot considering how long television has been around for, glee is such a terrible terrible show, get cancelled already please

    • Z

      I don’t like Glee either…but to call it the worst show ever made? That’s more than a tad hyperpolic…

      • Marcy Runkle

        I don’t know…it’s up there.

    • Rhonda

      You are forgetting Pink Lady and Jeff. Truly awful

    • Cal

      So true.. the show is a disgrace.

  • MSR

    I’m glad GLAAD is happy with the stereotypical gay characters Glee has dished out. I personally dislike Kurt for that reason, but whatever.

    • MJ

      Thank you…I have been saying that for years…Kurt is the typical gay stereotype…I’m sure all the ignorant hicks are saying, “See, I told you thats how they all act.” I cannot imagine one gay teen watching this show and thinking it is easier to come out. Thank you GLEE for reinforcing the stereotype across the country. What’s next…adding a penny piching Jew to the cast?

      • MJ

        or pinching

  • Ointment Fly

    Fox is an amazing corporation.

    On the one hand, their entertainment division fires up right wing fruitloops with their irreverent and gay friendly programing while their news division markets folks who decry the same stuff.

    It’s an awesome feedback loop.

    • dee

      I agree, never thought about it before.

    • Bill

      Yeah. I especially love that they keep broadcasting “The Simpsons”, which repeatedly makes fun of both FOX and Rupert Murdoch. E.g.:

      Automated lady’s voice: For automated stock prices, please state the company name.
      Homer: Animotion.
      Lady: Animotion. Up one and one half.
      Homer: Yahoo!
      Lady: Yahoo! Up six and a quarter.
      Homer: Huh, what is this crap?
      Lady: Fox Broadcasting. Down eight.”

  • yt

    I support gay marriage, as long a both chicks are hot.

  • glen

    Fux Entertainment could run all-gay-all-the-time programming and the network would STILL be a wholly owned and operated product of a 100% gay-hate-o-phobia machine.

  • Disgusting

    I understand gay relationships, but it is too much in my face. Why does there have to be gay characters? What next gay cartoons for kids.? Minorities are people of different color but God loves all of us! God does not tolerate Gays, you are fooling urself into thinking ur normal!

    • socute

      Aww, I do enjoy bigotry when it is expressed using the grammar-syntax equivalent of “Hulk smash.”

      • Tranzchick

        socute – THAT was perfect! My first laugh of the day. Thank you :)

    • MJ

      GOD HATES YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! and all bigots like you!

    • Dianna

      Stop attacking. NO ONE is normal. We all are different and individual creatures. People who think they are normal are just crazy.

    • Bill

      “God does not tolerate Gays”

      That seems fair. I don’t tolerate God. And I haven’t made up my mind yet about you.

  • aleksa

    Now that I think about it, almost every show I can think of on premium cable networks has at least one LGBT character.

  • Kevin

    What about Encore with Torchwood? Jack Harkness is the openly gay lead character.

  • CL

    How is Torchwood on Starz with John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness an openly bisexual(omnisexual) alien fighting hero not on this list?

    • Kami82

      I was wondering the same thing CL, no mention of Captain Jack?!

      • Simon Jester

        My guess is it was too recent to be included in the study. Between TORCHWOOD and SPARTACUS, I imagine Starz will get a nod next year.

  • Jackson

    Here we go again…I don’t understand the need for the gay & lesbian community to publish a report about “where we are on television.” WHO CARES!!!???? Do you see straight people EVER publishing reports like that. Just another instance of LBGT trying to push their views on everybody else. By the way, don’t try to tell me I’m bigotted…I really enjoy torchwood and captain jack…but I don’t care for LBGT rubbing it in straight peoples faces at every opportunity possible…Let it rest already!

    • Tranzchick

      The fact that we exist does not equal “rubbing it in straight peoples faces”. I don’t even understand what that means. What is “it” in that statement? Our junk? And other than our super secret agenda (to be revealed when it is too late for you to fight back) I don’t know of any “views” we’re pushing on people.

      • LowJack

        Really? you don’t think the LGBT voice has gotten a little loud over I don’t know lets say the last decade. I think some people are just getting tired of hearing about it all the time. Which I believe is what jackson was trying to say with the whole rubbing it in our faces comment.

      • Tranzchick

        @Lowjack – Now I get it, thank you. I’m not sure what you mean by our voice getting a little loud. I would agree that we’d like our voice to be heard. Sure, the media is running with that. I can’t go to any news site these days without seeing a headline about gay or trans folk but in a way that’s a good thing. Because we’re getting slaughtered out here (some literally) and we’re trying to take a stand against violence and descrimination. By sharing some of the stories of what we have to go through we’re probably hoping some people (who would otherwise never hear about it) will take notice and say, “Wow, that’s messed up. Things need to change”. Of course some people just think we’re evil and should die. But all we can do is get the word out to good people.

    • Bill

      “WHO CARES!!!????”

      I do. I’m a gay man and and I enjoy seeing some “people like me” on TV. And I like knowing that straight people see these characters, too, countering stereotypes most folks have about GLBT people. Plus, the increasing number of gay characters on popular is a crude barometer of social acceptance of gay people.

      African-Americans had this same interest in black TV characters back in the 60s and 70s, for the same reasons. I know Asians and Hispanics have also tracked this.

      “Do you see straight people EVER publishing reports like that.”

      Why would you need to? 95% of TV characters are straight.

      “Just another instance of LBGT trying to push their views on everybody else.”

      You’re talking about this article, right? The one on the Internet, titled “Fox, HBO most gay-friendly networks on television, says GLAAD report”? The one you clicked on to read?

      We didn’t rub anything in your face. You walked in and shoved your face in our crotch.

      “By the way, don’t try to tell me I’m bigotted”

      No, I can see that you’re a strong supporter of gay equality. You’ve even generously volunteered your advice that the key to social acceptance is to shut up and become invisible.

      I’d offer to submit your name to GLAAD for some kind of “gay ally award.” But I reckon you’ d be too offended that such an award exists to accept it.

      • Michael

        I couldn’t have said it better myself! YOU have a way with words and should be writing for television yourself! Thanks for standing up for all of us. I care too.

  • Cameron J

    J totally support gays and their rights… but they don’t HAVE to be on TV. I mean, when you write a story (I speak from experience ) the story flows on its own. A gay character not being included doesn’t equal bigotry. It means that they didn’t write the story that way. I hate when GLADD tries controlling everything and picking fights. We don’t have to jump through hoops in order to accept gays openly.

    • Tranzchick

      I think most of the time when a writer wants to convey realism in their show it makes sense to have peoples in it that represent the real world. LGBT, minorities, etc,.. If all characters in a television show were straight white people it would feel like the Twilight Zone.

      • Jackson

        I get that, there has to be a realism aspect to the whole thing…but the whole publishing a report entitled “where we are on tv” seems to be an agenda that LGBT has to push…How often do you see a report like that from straight people? I don’t need to see a report every other day, on this stuff (ex: gay & lesbian couples per state, gays and lesbians in sports), etc. I just DON’T CARE…Be who you are without having to advertise it all over the place…I don’t need to see it and hear about it continuously.

      • Tranzchick

        @Jackson – I can see how publishing a report like that might seem weird to you being that you’re not LGBT. But the report by GLAAD is actually for us (LGBT). Hence the “we” in Where we are on tv. It’s something that we as a community can look to see what programs and networks may have characters that represent us. It’s not meant for straight people. Straight people don’t really need a report to let them know where they can watch straight characters because that’s every show. I think that’s where some of the confusion is coming into play with a lot of these comments. So, thank you for saying “be who you are” that really cool but we’re not advertising or pushing anything. It was meant for us.

  • lee

    ugly betty. nuff said.

  • Lisa

    There are now more GAY characters on t.v than black, mexican,asian characters!How the hell is that fair to other minorities?I don’t see the networks trying to integrate thier shows to appeal to blacks,which I am sure are more of us than Gays.

    • Bill

      “There are now more GAY characters on t.v than black, mexican,asian characters!”

      I’m pretty sure that’s false, but assuming it’s true:

      Only 3% of the scripted regular characters on TV are gay (compared to about 5% of the population, so we’re still under-represented). If you’re right, the total of gay, black, Hispanic and asian characters is less than 12%. Which means at least 88% of TV characters are white heterosexuals.

      Why are you upset about gay characters? Shouldn’t you be upset about all the *whites* on TV, hogging roles that should be shared with minorities? Gays get 60% of the representation we deserve, and you say that’s too much?

      “I don’t see the networks trying to integrate thier shows to appeal to blacks”

      You must be too young to remember the 1970s, when the networks did EXACTLY that, and bigoted white people complained about it.

  • Kyle

    who really cares what character has the most gay characters?? As long as the show is good I dont care if the character is gay or not.

    • Kyle

      I meant to say Who really cares what network not character

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