These reports map the quantity, quality, and diversity of images of LGBT people on television.
While the NRI looks backward at the previous season and rates networks on LGBT-inclusive content between June 2012 and May 2013, the Where We Are on TV report is a character count and analysis of scripted characters in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.
In its Network Responsibility Index, which rates LGBT content on networks during the 2012-2013 TV season that wrapped earlier this year, GLAAD found FOX was the most inclusive broadcast network with 42% of primetime programming hours having included LGBT images and earning FOX a rating of Good. Each network is reviewed on a scale of Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing. No network received an Excellent rating this year. ABC came in second place for the number of inclusive hours at 33% and also earned a score of Good. On cable, ABC Family was the most inclusive network GLAAD tracked last year with 50% of its original programming including LGBT impressions or storylines. It was followed by FX at 40%. History received a Failing grade with no LGBT images on any of its shows last season.
In its Where We Are on TV report which counts the number of LGBT characters in the 2013-2014 television season which just began, GLAAD found that 3.3% of primetime broadcast scripted series regulars will be LGBT characters, following the record high number of LGBT series regulars (4.4%) counted on broadcast television in last year’s report. There will be an equal number of women and men among LGBT characters during the 2013-2014 broadcast season, showing an effort from networks to diversify storylines beyond the white gay male narrative most commonly seen on television.
“Last season was a stellar one when it comes to the sheer number of gay, lesbian and bisexual representations on television, though diversity within those storylines showed room for improvement,” said GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz. “Though the number of LGBT characters dropped this season, shows like The Fosters, with an interracial female couple raising a family, and characters like Unique on Glee have not only moved the conversation about LGBT people forward, but are also a hit with audiences.”
“Our television images not only reach American audiences, but countless others around the world. It is time for the television networks to make new and groundbreaking LGBT stories a priority once again,” said Cruz.
7th Annual Network Responsibility Index (LGBT content from 2012 2013)
The NRI examined primetime programming on the broadcast networks and original programming on 10 cable networks from June 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013. In reviewing the previous year of television, GLAAD found that the 4 largest broadcast networks all showed significantly improvement in the quantity of LGBT-inclusive broadcast hours. Based on the overall quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT representation, a grade was assigned to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate or Failing.
- No networks received a rating of Excellent this year, indicating the need for more diverse LGBT characters and stories.
- Good: ABC, ABC Family, CW, FOX, MTV, NBC, Showtime
- Adequate: CBS, FX, HBO, TLC, TNT, USA
- Failing: History, TBS
18th Annual Where We Are on TV (LGBT content from 2013 2014)
The Where We Are on TV analyzes the diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and looks at the number of LGBT characters on cable networks.
- Out of 796 primetime broadcast scripted series regulars, 26 will be LGBT this year, or 3.3%. This in down from 4.4% last year but still up from 2.9% at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. In addition, GLAAD found 20 recurring LGBT characters, down from 25 last year.
- ABC and FOX are the only networks to show increases this year and have the highest percentage of LGBT characters at 5.4% each. The CW is in third place at 3%. CBS is no longer last with 1.9% of its regular characters being LGBT, while NBC dropped from last year to 1%.
- Of the 46 LGBT regular and recurring characters on broadcast networks, half are women and 28% are people of color. While last year there weren’t any regular transgender characters on broadcast television, there will be one this season with the character of Unique on Glee.
- On cable, GLAAD counted 42 regular LGBT characters, up from 35 last season. An additional 24 recurring characters were counted. HBO will have the most characters with a total of 11, followed by Showtime with 8 characters. Of those LGBT characters, 39% are women and 29% are people of color. Only one transgender character, Adam on Degrassi, was counted though he no longer appears on the program.
- Of the 796 overall regular characters on broadcast primetime, the percentage of female characters has declined somewhat to 43%. People of color will once again make up 23% of all regular characters, while just 1% will be depicted as people with disabilities.
GLAAD’s annual TV reports not only propel national conversations about LGBT representation, but inform GLAAD’s own advocacy within the television industry. GLAAD uses this yearly data to create a clearer picture of the stories and images being presented by television networks, and to encourage networks to include diverse LGBT representations within them. The next NRI and Where We Are on TV will be released in 2014.