After a decrease last year, the number of LGBT characters on the five broadcast networks has risen to the highest ever recorded, according to the “Where We Are on TV” report released today by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The report released today lauded the cable networks for also increasing their overall LGBT character count this year, too.
Which networks are the most inclusive? After Fox lead the broadcast networks last year, ABC — with shows like comedy Happy Endings (above) featuring gay characters — has been named as the most gay-friendly network, with 10 of 194 (5.2 percent) regular characters identifying as LGBT. Over on cable, last year’s victor HBO was dethroned by Showtime, which this year had 12 LGBT characters, seven of which are series regulars on shows like Shameless and Weeds.
“This year’s increase of LGBT characters on television reflects a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society,” says GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, coworkers, and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.”
The report — which studied 97 broadcast shows, as well as cable offerings — also delivered a slew of other facts and figures. EW has pulled out the most fascinating tidbits for you here:
• LGBT characters account for 4.4 percent of scripted series regulars on the broadcast networks in 2012-13. This is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, 3.9 percent in 2009, 2.6 percent in 2008, and 1.1 percent in 2007.
• There are a total of 31 LGBT characters on the five broadcast networks, as well as 19 recurring characters.
• ABC leads the broadcast networks with 10 of 194 characters (5.2 percent). Fox is in second with six of 118 (5.1 percent), followed by The CW with four of 81 (4.9 percent), NBC with seven of 166 (4.2 percent), and CBS with four of 142 (2.8 percent). The report singles out CBS’ “authentic and conscious effort” to increase diversity, as it is up from 0.7 percent LGBT characters last season.
• Regular LGBT characters on scripted cable television also rose this year to 35 (up from 29) for the 2012-13 season.
• Showtime leads the cable pack, with 12 total characters, seven of whom are regulars. The runners up include: HBO (9 characters), FX (8), Adult Swim (5), and ABC Family, MTV, Syfy, and TeenNick (4 each).
• As it was in 2010 and 2011, HBO’s True Blood is the most inclusive show on cable television with six gay, lesbian, or bisexual characters.
• GLAAD also analyzed the race/ethnicity and gender demographics of all 701 series regular characters in primetime television. There are more males (55.5 percent) to females (44.5 percent), and 78 percent of all series regulars are white. Compared to last year, African American representation has increased from 9.9 percent to 12 percent, followed by Latino (4.1 percent) and Asian-Pacific Islander (4.7 percent).
• Of the 31 announced LGBT regular characters in the 2012-13 season, 11 are people of color (35.5 percent). GLAAD counted seven regular or recurring black LGBT characters on broadcast television, up from zero last year.
• Lastly, GLAAD counted people with disabilities, of which there are four (0.6 percent) regular characters on broadcast television.
The full “Where We Are on TV” report can be viewed on the GLAAD website.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky
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