GLAAD, the US lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, released its two annual television reports – the 8th annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI) and the 19th annual Where We Are on TV report, on Wednesday last (1st). The reports map the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBT representation on television.
While GLAAD’s NRI looks backward at the previous season and rates networks on LGBT-inclusive content that aired between June 2013 and May 2014, the Where We Are on TV report is a character-count and analysis of scripted characters in the upcoming 2014-2015 season.
For the first time in its Network Responsibility Index, which rates LGBT content on networks during the 2013-2014 TV season that wrapped earlier this year, three different networks earned “Excellent” grades in the same year: ABC Family, HBO, and MTV. The grades of Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing are awarded based on the quality, diversity, and relative quantity of LGBT representations in each network’s original programming.
In its Where We Are on TV report, which counts the number of LGBT characters in the 2014-2015 television season, GLAAD found that 3.9% of primetime broadcast scripted series regulars will be lesbian, gay or bisexual characters, an increase from 3.3% last year. In addition, GLAAD counted 33 recurring lesbian, gay or bisexual characters on broadcast scripted series, though none of the broadcast characters counted are transgender. GLAAD also counted 64 regular and 41 recurring LGBT characters on primetime scripted cable series.
Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, stated:
“Television networks are playing a key role in promoting cultural understanding of LGBT lives around the world, and are now producing some of the best LGBT-inclusive programming we’ve yet seen. As they move forward with new programs and storylines, networks must also keep an eye towards diversity and strive to include significant transgender content comparable to those efforts being made by their online competitors, such as Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and Amazon’s Transparent.”
GLAAD has also officially announced that, in the future, networks must feature significant transgender content in their original programming in order to receive a grade of Excellent in the NRI.
For the first time, three networks earned a grade of “Excellent” in the same year: ABC Family, HBO, and MTV. This is the second Excellent grade for both MTV and ABC Family.
Stephen Friedman, President of MTV & Logo TV, stated:
“For MTV to fully connect with young people, we have to represent our entire audience in all its brilliant diversity, which includes people of every sexual orientation and gender identity. We’re honored to receive GLAAD’s recognition, and are committed to airing the stories of LGBTQ young people – to provide our audience characters they can relate to, and to bring new voices from the LGBTQ community into living rooms across the country.”
The Where We Are on TV report analyzes the diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and looks at the number of LGBT characters on cable networks.
Out of 813 primetime broadcast scripted series regulars, 32 will be LGBT this year, or 3.9%. This is up from 3.3% last year but still down from the record high of 2012 when 4.4% of primetime broadcast scripted regular characters were LGBT. In addition, GLAAD found 33 recurring LGBT characters on primetime broadcast series.