Today, GLAAD released the14th annual “Where We Are On TV” study, a comprehensive review of scripted LGBT primetime characters in the 2009-2010 television season. After more than doubling last year,the overall number LGBT characters on broadcast networks continues a steady rise.
The report shows that 18 LGBT characters will account for 3% of scripted series regulars in the 2009-2010 broadcast television schedule, up from 1.3% in 2006, 1.1% in 2007, and 2.6% in 2008. The number of scripted LGBT series regulars found on mainstream cable networks continue to decline, from 40 in 2007, 32 in 2008 to only 25 this year.
This research serves as a benchmark for GLAAD’s advocacy efforts of increases in LGBT characters and stories. The storylines and characters in the Where We Are On TV report will later be reviewed for GLAAD’s fourth annual Network Responsibility Index, released after May 2010 sweeps, which grades networks on overall LGBT impressions.
For this upcoming season, ABC continues to lead the other broadcast networks in LGBT representation, with eight LGBT characters out of 168 total series regular characters (5%), the highest number and percentage of LGBT characters of any network for the 2009-2010 season. Fox, which only two years ago featured zero series regular LGBT characters at the launch of the season, now offers four LGBT series regulars out of 105 (4%). NBC has three series regular LGBT characters (3%) out of a total of 126. The CW is showing gradual improvement with two LGBT series regular characters out of 69 (3%). Unfortunately, CBS continues to disappoint. Out of 132 series regular characters, none are LGBT.
On mainstream cable networks, the number of announced LGBT series regular characters dropped to 25 from last year’s total of 32. The presence of LGBT-focused cable networks here! and Logo, which program specifically for LGBT viewers, add an additional 27 series regular LGBT characters.
This marks the fifth year that GLAAD has analyzed the demographics of the race, gender and ethnicity of all the 600 series regular characters expected to appear on the broadcast networks in the upcoming season. Male characters continue to outweigh female characters 57% (345) to 43% (255) in overall numbers, while 77% (466) of all series regular characters are white, down 2% from last year. African American representation has remains at 11% (67) while Latino/a representation has dropped to 5% (27). GLAAD counted 23 Asian Pacific Islander characters (4%), four more than last season.
“Our analysis also shows where there’s still work to be done. This past year, we’ve seen real progress from many networks toward making their scripted programming more LGBT inclusive," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "At the same time, we continue to advocate that other networks including CBS follow suit and that networks across the board better reflect the diversity of the LGBT community."
Complete results of GLAAD’s "Where We Are On TV" report can be accessed here.