Los Angeles, CA, September 29, 2010 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today released the 15th annual "Where We Are On TV" study, a comprehensive review of scripted LGBT primetime characters in the 2010-2011 television season. After more than doubling last year, the overall number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters on broadcast networks continues a steady rise, though broadcast networks still report no transgender or black LGBT characters.
The report shows that 23 LGBT characters will account for 3.9% of scripted series regulars in the 2010-2011 broadcast television schedule, up from 1.1% in 2007, 2.6% in 2008, and 3% in 2009. The number of scripted LGBT series regulars found on mainstream cable networks has rebounded after a two year decline, from 40 in 2007, 32 in 2008, 25 in 2009, to 35 in the upcoming season.
HBO's TRUE BLOOD is the most inclusive program currently on television, featuring six regular and recurring LGBT characters.
From research and information provided by the five broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW — GLAAD's "Where We Are On TV" study reviewed 84 scripted television programs scheduled to air this upcoming season, and counted a total of 587 series regular characters, 23 of which are LGBT.
"The increase in lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters on primetime television not only reflects the shift in American culture towards greater awareness and understanding of our community, but also a new industry standard that a growing number of creators and networks are adopting," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "The recent critical and commercial success of shows like Modern Family and Glee clearly indicate that mainstream audiences embrace gay characters and want to see well-crafted stories about our lives."
In the upcoming 2010-2011 season:
* ABC continues to lead the other broadcast networks in LGBT representation, with 11 LGBT characters out of 152 total series regular characters (7.2%), the highest number and percentage of LGBT characters of any network for the 2010-2011 season.
* FOX, which in 2007 featured zero series regular LGBT characters at the launch of the season, now offers five LGBT series regulars out of 100 (5%).
* The CW continues to improve with three LGBT series regular characters out of 67 (4.5%).
* NBC becomes the only network that saw a decline from last year. The network will feature three series regular LGBT characters (2.1%) out of a total of 143.
* CBS remains in last place. Out of 125 series regular characters, only one will be LGBT (0.8%), but the network will include several LGBT recurring characters.
For a complete list of LGBT characters on broadcast television, please click here.
On mainstream cable networks, the number of announced LGBT series regular characters has rebounded to 35 after a two-year decline.
* HBO features the greatest number of LGBT characters on cable with 10, six of which are series regulars.
* ABC Family has an edge in the number of series regular LGBT characters with seven.
* Also making a significant contribution to the count are Showtime (with seven characters), Syfy (with four), TNT, FX, Starz, and Teen Nick (with three each).
For a complete list of LGBT characters on cable, click here.
The only original programming announced by the LGBT-focused cable networks here! and Logo is unscripted and alternative programming, and so they were not part of this year's character count.
This marks the sixth year that GLAAD has analyzed the demographics of the race, gender and ethnicity of all the 587 series regular characters expected to appear on the broadcast networks in the upcoming season. Male characters continue to outweigh female characters 59% (345) to 41% (242) in overall numbers, while 77% (449) of all series regular characters are white. African American representation has increased slightly to 12% (71) while Latino/a representation has remained steady at 5% (29). GLAAD counted 25 Asian Pacific Islander characters (4%), two more than last season.
This year also marks the very first time GLAAD has included people with disabilities (PWD) in its overall study of diversity on the broadcast networks. A total of six series regular characters will be PWD, making them just 1% of all series regular characters. This research was conducted in conjunction with the Tri-Union I AM PWD (Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People With Disabilities) campaign of Actors' Equity Association, AFTRA and SAG (IAMPWD.org).
Of the 23 announced LGBT regular characters in the 2010-2011 primetime broadcast season, six are people of color (26%), and two will be people with disabilities (8.6%). Not one LGBT character announced for the new broadcast season will be black or transgender. For complete analysis of diversity on the broadcast networks, click here.
"Unfortunately, while the number of characters is increasing, many members of our community still do not see stories reflecting their lives," continued Barrios. "It is troubling that the broadcast networks will not feature even one black LGBT character or one transgender character in the upcoming primetime lineup. Because what people see in the media has a huge impact on how they understand others and perceive themselves, the media has a responsibility to tell stories that include the diversity of our community."
This research serves as a benchmark for GLAAD's advocacy efforts which call for fair, accurate and diverse LGBT representations across media platforms. The storylines and characters in the "Where We Are On TV" report will later be reviewed for GLAAD's Network Responsibility Index (NRI), released after May 2011 sweeps, which grades networks on overall LGBT impressions.
Complete results of GLAAD's "Where We Are On TV" report can be accessed here.