Fox, ABC, ABC Family Top Study on LGBT Inclusion; NBC Has Fewest LGBT Characters

GLAAD Repory Gay Lesbian TV CharactersGLAAD, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, has released its annual Network Responsibility Index, where ABC, Fox and ABC Family demonstrated the greatest amount of LGBT-inclusive content for the TV season gone by.

And for the first time, GLAAD simultaneously released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report aka a head count on LGBT characters for the new TV season. In that study, CBS — thanks in part to Under the Dome and Two and a Half Men‘s new addition — shook off its long-held last place status, ceding the dishonor to NBC.

ACCORDING TO THE NRI REPORT, Fox was No. 1, with 42 percent of its primetime programming hours in the 2012-13 TV season having included LGBT images. That’s up sharply from its previous performance and earned a Good rating.

No broadcast or cable outlets this year earned an Excellent rating.

ABC, placing No. 2 among broadcasters with 33 percent inclusion, earned a Good rating, as did The CW, NBC, MTV and Showtime. Of the cable networks, ABC Family led with 50 percent inclusion (Good), followed by FX’s 40 percent (Adequate). Others getting Adequate grades were CBS, HBO, TLC, TNT and USA Network.

The History channel, with zero percent inclusion, was slapped with a Failing grade. The full report can be found here.

THE “WHERE WE ARE ON TV” REPORT tallies the number of LGBT characters on TV for the new season, and this year 3.3 percent of series-regular characters — or 26 out of 796 — are LGBT, down from last season’s all-time high of 4.4 percent (but up from the 2011-12 TV season’s 2.9 percent).

In addition, 20 recurring characters are LGBT (versus last season’s 25).

ABC — buoyed by the likes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Modern Family, Nashville, Back in the Game and Suburgatory — and Fox (Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Glee) were this year’s only gainers and tied for the highest percentage (5.4) of LGBT characters. The CW followed with 3 percent, CBS climbed out of the cellar with 1.9 percent, while NBC placed last with 1 percent.

Cable networks combined for 42 LGBT regular characters (up from last year’s 35), plus 24 recurring. HBO led that pack (with 10 LGBT characters), followed by Showtime’s eight. The full report can be found here.

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71 Comments
  1. ElgaN says:

    The CW has LGBT characters?!
    What TV show I’m not watchin’ from that network that has LGBT characters?

  2. The number of aliens on TV is even lower. There’s the Neighbors and I think that’s it. Tsk, tsk. :P

  3. Eric says:

    And NBC has Sean Hayes and that one chic on Chicago Fire. Pretty sad NBC just like your shows.

    • azu says:

      And the number of gays on tv is relevant, how? While we are at its. Let’s count the number of women, or men, or children

  4. Aimee says:

    “Of the cable networks, ABC Family led with 50 percent inclusion (Good),” – Wait…50% inclusion only gets you a “Good” rating?!? Uh let’s try and be a little realistic here people. That’s down right awesome!

    • bar says:

      Every show should have at least one gay character, since gay people make up about 8% of the population. Assuming that each show has about 8 main or heavily recurring characters.

      • Slowride says:

        I agree with the need to have gay character represented on TV, but 8% is not 1 out of 8 (that would be 12,5%)… If you want to make a point with numbers, it’s better to do the math right… Or else it will backfire…

      • ajintexas says:

        Try 4-5% of the population, at most. 1-2% of women, 2-3% of men. No need to use fake numbers.

  5. Amanda says:

    I think reports like this can be sort of harmful in way. I’m all for inclusion obviously, but I don’t want characters added just so a tv show can top this list – if that makes sense. I want LGBT characters to continue to be written into shows, but I want the characters to have quality – like Carrie Diaries where they are literally writing one of the most poignant coming out stories I’ve ever seen or Chicago Fire where Shay being a lesbian just isn’t a huge deal. Glee obviously leads in number but I wouldn’t call all their LGBT characters quality ones.

  6. nico says:

    CBS has gay characters? Where?

    The CW only has barely there, blink and you’ll miss type of LGBT characters. Even Walt on Carrie Diaries was treated below everyone else there.

    Out of 6 LGBT Characters on Fox, 5 of them are on Glee.

    Le sigh….

  7. bar says:

    How could Fox possibly be better than ABC???
    ABC has two on Grey’s, two on Modern Family, one recurring on The Middle, pretty sure at least one on Revenge, one on Nashville, two on Scandal, one on Suburgatory (though I think I read the Asian counselor was let go? Can’t remember), and those are just on the shows I watch!
    Fox has, yes, like four on Glee (I don’t watch anymore so I’m not exactly sure the number?), one on BNN and I’m sure a few more on show I don’t watch.
    But as a whole, ABC has a much better spread of gay and lesbian characters, probably averaging close to one per primetime show. That’s impressive

    • BB says:

      At the moment, Glee has six LGBT characters.

      How is a better spread more impressive? I’d hardly say a token gay in every other show is better than a show which portrays gay and lesbian relationships as well as trans* people.

  8. Jo says:

    Who is the gay character on “Bones”? I cannot figure this out for the life of me!!

  9. Mark says:

    Once we get over this idea that the mere existence of queer characters counts as representation, we’ll be moving forward again. Quality counts more than quantity. When quantity is the concern, you get crap like Glee with gay characters that are mostly horrible, or the utter caricatures on Modern Family. I’m relatively effeminate myself, this is not a “omg tv only represents screaming queens” rant, I just want characters who are gay rather than “gay characters.”

  10. Alexis says:

    No undocumented homosexual Latinos in either of these shows. We still have no representation in the media. Same could be as said about our Asain counterparts. Glad white people can rejoice though…

    • Jane says:

      ABC Family’s The Fosters has undocumented Latinos and homosexual characters though, if that helps. Although the undocumented Latinos aren’t homosexual themselves. Perhaps they’re daughter (who is also undocumented) may be bi! Who knows. Worth watching either way.

    • ajintexas says:

      undocumented latino homosexuals? Being a bit specific here aren’t we? Also undocumented = illegal no matter how much you try to make it sound like it’s not.

  11. EinC says:

    How many shows feature multiple partner marriages/committed relationships?
    None?
    I guess ‘equality’ only stretches so far.

  12. Artlight says:

    Is this study only for primetime shows? Or do Will and Sonny from Days of our Lives not count for some reason? If they had included them NBC wouldn’t have been last

  13. Allison says:

    Larger representation is great but like most of you on here I’m more concerned with the quality of that representation. So far ABC Family wins in that department. The Fosters is a great show and the relationship between Stef and Lena is written so well.

  14. wrstlgirl says:

    Something I’ve noticed is that the majority of the same sex characters are women, unless I’m just watching the wrong shows. I feel that the networks still tend to shy away from gay men in relationships onscreen.

    • Lynne says:

      Thats because the world as a whole is still hypocritical about homosexuality. Two girls makin out is considered hot, whether they are gay or not. But two guys makin out is considered disgusting and shouldnt be done.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Actually, per the report, there’s an equal gender split this TV season.

  15. Kissan says:

    Can anybody tell me who the gay character is on Nashville?

  16. Sarah says:

    I have a really big problem with this report. Networks, when selecting pilots, must now contend with sexuality as a component in deciding whether or not the show has merit. Isn’t this EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the human rights movement, where it’s not your sexual orientation, but your soull -the person you are, that matters?

  17. karla valera says:

    “pretty little lairs”
    “was one of the best show that i have seen i clearly would rate this show #1 world wide”

  18. WO says:

    And in real news….WHO CARES!? If your choices for how you want to live must be validated by the numbers of characters on a screen or your level of acceptance is determined by how many similar types of lifestyles are portrayed in Hollywood, then perhaps a true check of your choices are needed.

    This is not news… just another chance at trying to trumpet how great our world is that we have LGBT characters on TV because that must mean that we freely accept that lifestyle!! Let’s trumpet how many kids with disabilities are on TV, or how many singles moms are portrayed or how many true wounded vets are portrayed…. you know something of real substance instead of trying to make others okay with their choices based on how many people agree with them.

    • Brooke says:

      Could you kindly explain why GLAAD releasing a report has anything to do with other groups NOT releasing reports on the inclusion of the people they represent?

      I’m not expecting a serious or well thought out answer, but I figured I would ask.

    • Bob says:

      AGREED. Nicely said!

    • Jean says:

      Good points wo!

    • Lilliana says:

      It’s not a choice! You ignorant imbecile! My son didn’t choose to be tormented, humiliated, called names and even beaten of who he is. If he had a choice, trust me, he would be straight. That would be much much easier. He was born gay and I love him unconditionally. People like you make me sick to my stomach.

      • ajintexas says:

        He may very well have been, but there is no scientific proof that this is the case. It’s still the nature vs. nurture argument. Either he was born that way or the way he was raised made him that way. There has never been any proof that one or the other is the reason and no “gay gene” has ever been identified in the human genome even though people who have no clue about science will swear it has been.

      • WO says:

        So…. a perfect God who created everything perfect before the Fall of Adam and Eve would create a being who completely contradicts His perfect character? Claiming the “born this way” argument is an easy to shift accountability to others instead of reflecting on the consequences of choices being made. I am not advocating the humiliation and torment… however, I do think the accountability lies with the ones who did the tormenting and with your child who made the decision to be gay in the first place. The bottom line is that the big push by the LGBT against Hollywood and society in general is for reason and reason only… to create or force pseudo-acceptance to mask their insecurity in their decisions. It is how they try to warrant value in the decisions they have made. I have a gay sister and I tell her and my mother the same thing. Stop trying to force me to accept the way you want to live… either grow some security or take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you have to struggle so hard to validate your choices.

      • WO says:

        One more thing… so you are basically saying that your son would NEVER make a decision that would cause his physical or emotional pain? That type of ignorant parenting is what blinds parents to the real dangers their kids face…. themselves… We all make decisions that cause pain and grief to ourselves and others… but they are decisions of free will.

      • Ewww Gays says:

        It actually is a choice. Your child chose to be gay, which is his mistake. Have fun loving a gay failure of a child.

  19. cas says:

    Ridiculous.

  20. leigh says:

    The one thing that was weird with this was that the History Channel had a failing grade. I thought that channel created and showed documentaries. Why would it count in this report? And if they are included what about food network, discovery science, etc.?

  21. Cory says:

    It’s stupid History Channel is included because they did one religious miniseries and one scripted series, are they wanting openly gay Vikings? WTF?

    Anyway I’m a gay man but I find these GLAAD reports and GLAAD itself a bit ridiculous.

    • unicornwasp says:

      since you’re gay, you probably know that there is such a thing as gay history. the history channel completely ignores LGBT history, and it’s pretty obvious that learning the LGBT history can be empowering for LGBT people.

  22. claire says:

    This is silly. Are you going to count how many tv characters are black too? Someone people are gay-what’s the big deal? It’s natural to encounter gay people in real life and tv-this is alienating and unnecessary.