The sixth annual GLAAD Network Responsibility Index (NRI) has been released. The NRI is an evaluation of the quantity and quality of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people during the 2011-2012 television season. GLAAD researched primetime programming on ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, NBC and 10 cable networks from June 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012. The report is intended to serve as a road map toward increasing fair, accurate, and inclusive LGBT media representations.
For the third year in a row, The CW ranked first among the broadcast networks with 152 (29%) LGBT inclusive hours out of 524 hours of original programming, though its score has also been on the decline for two years. The CW also featured the most racial diversity among the broadcast networks, with 62% of impressions from LGBT people/characters of color.
For the fourth year in a row, CBS remains in last place among the broadcast networks, with 92.5 (8%) LGBT inclusive hours out of 1110 hours total. It was also a slight drop for a network that really needs to show improvement. Most of CBS’ inclusive hours (48%) were found in its dramatic programming, thanks almost exclusively to THE GOOD WIFE.
Once again, lesbian women were far less represented than gay men, but had a substantially stronger showing than last year. Of all the LGBT inclusive hours on broadcast television 25% included lesbian impressions, which is up from 17% last year. The highest percentages were on Fox and NBC (30% each), which respectively featured Santana on GLEE and designer Kara Larricks on FASHION STAR. The lowest percentage was on CBS (17%).
The highest ranked cable network tracked by GLAAD for this year’s report was Showtime, which saw its inclusive programming increase to 46% (from 37% last year) with 55 out of 118.5 original programming hours featuring LGBT impressions. Showtime included a number of strong LGBT storylines and characters on shows like SHAMELESS and THE REAL L WORD, however the network also included episodes of CALIFORNICATION and HOUSE OF LIES which showed lead characters acting disgusted by transgender women and referring to them using dehumanizing terms. At a time when images of the trans community are so few, these instances prevented its moving from a “Good” to an “Excellent” score.
Though it received an “Excellent” score last year, ABC Family saw its inclusive hours drop from 55% (a record high) to 34% (48.5 out of 141 hours), but it was still enough to land it in second place with a score of “Good.” PRETTY LITTLE LIARS continues to be ABC Family’s strongest series in terms of LGBT representation and diversity. The other major inclusive series on ABC Family was soapy drama THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER, which featured an increased role for lesbian mom Nora last season, and several appearances from gay teen Griffin. In addition, the show has set the stage for major character Anne to begin a romance with a woman. Other ABC Family series that featured LGBT impressions this season included JANE BY DESIGN, SWITCHED AT BIRTH, and MELISSA & JOEY.
You can download the full report here.