Those Pretty Little Liars — or, namely, Emily — helped ABC Family score a rare “Excellent” rating in GLAAD’s 5th annual Network Responsibility Index, which tracks the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people on television. CBS, meanwhile, again placed last among the broadcast networks, though improved upon its 2010 “Failing” grade to earn an “Adequate” score.
Like MTV, the only other outlet to ever rate “Excellent” in the survey, ABC Family targets the youth market. The home to series such as PLL and the recently graduated Greek aced this year’s report by having 55 percent of its 103 hours of original primetime programming feature LGBT-inclusive images.
Of the broadcast nets, The CW came out on top (with 33 percent), followed by Fox (29 percent) and ABC (22 percent); all three garnered “Good” ratings. NBC placed fourth (with 15 percent) but demonstrated “the most racially diverse” LGBT depictions, including The Office‘s Oscar and SVU‘s Dr. George Huang (though the latter was cited for being a “relatively minor character”). Conversely, ABC exhibited the least racial diversity, save for Grey’s Anatomy‘s Callie and a Latino character on the canceled The Whole Truth.
As mentioned above, CBS bettered its LGBT representation to 10 percent, buoyed in part by The Good Wife‘s gay brother and bisexual (former) BFF, plus peripheral characters on $#*! My Dad Says (since snuffed) and Rules of Engagement. “CBS showed the most improvement of any broadcast network,” GLAAD’s report notes, “however we continue to urge them to address the problems and deficiencies in their representation of our community.”
Among cable outlets, “Good” ratings were assigned to Showtime (37%), TNT (33%), HBO (31%), Lifetime (31%), AMC (29%), and Syfy (22%). Thanks in part to upgrading Marsha Thomason aka lesbian FBI agent Diana to full-time status, USA Network upped its game (from 4 to 18 percent) and landed it in the “Adequate” category, while for the fourth year in a row A&E (5%) and TBS (5%) both received “Failing” grades.