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Sixth Annual Network Responsibility Index Finds LGBT Stories Central Part of TV Landscape

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GLAAD released its sixth annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people on primetime broadcast and cable TV.

The number of LGBT images has stabilized this year as the range of impressions continues to grow. With 69% of LGBT impressions on broadcast networks made by gay men and 66% of LGBT-inclusive broadcast hours showcasing white people, the Network Responsibility Index also calls for networks to highlight the great ethnic and cultural diversity of the LGBT community.

“Americans expect to see their off-screen worlds represented onscreen and today more than ever that includes LGBT people and families,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Storylines of families like Mitchell and Cameron on Modern Family and young people like Emily on Pretty Little Liars are not only growing acceptance of our community, but have found praise from viewers and critics alike at a time when visibility and acceptance of LGBT people is at an all-time high.”

Broadcast Networks:

  • The CW remains the top broadcast network with a rating of "Good" and 29% of its primetime programming hours being LGBT-inclusive. The CW also registered the most racial diversity with 62% of impressions made by LGBT people/characters of color.
  • ABC improved enough (+4%) and Fox declined enough (-5%) for the two to swap places for second and third place in percentage of inclusive hours compared to last year. NBC remained in fourth place despite an increase of 4% in LGBT inclusive hours.
  • For the fourth year in a row CBS remained in last place with 8% LGBT-inclusive hours of primetime programming, dropping 2 percentage points from last year.  After receiving an “Adequate” score last year, the network is back to a “Failing” score.

Cable Networks:

  • Showtime (46%), ABC Family (34%), TNT (34%), and HBO (33%) all received “Good” ratings for the quantity and quality of their LGBT-inclusive original programming.
  • MTV (23%) which received an “Excellent” score two years ago received an “Adequate” score this year along with FX (34%), TLC (20%) and USA (17%).
  • For the fourth year in a row TBS (5%) received a “Failing” rating, as did the History network (3%).

The diversity of LGBT impressions on the broadcast networks declined slightly from last year, with 66% of LGBT impressions being white.  “Including an ethnically diverse cast of characters will not only be a more accurate reflection of the LGBT community but will also give programs the opportunity to build authentic and complex storylines.”

Transgender representation continues to be low on nearly every television network. Transgender inclusive hours recorded on broadcast television went from 0.002% last year to 0.01% this year, the number also remained extremely low for the cable networks tracked at 0.005%.

GLAAD will use these findings to meet with networks, show runners and industry leaders and discuss LGBT storylines and content.

Check out the full report here.

Who's your favorite LGBT character on TV today?

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