GLAAD Network Responsibility Index 2008 - 2009 | July 2009
The third annual GLAAD Network Responsibility Index is an evaluation of the quantity, quality and diversity of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on television. It is intended to serve as a road map toward increasing fair, accurate and inclusive LGBT media representations.
Primetime programming on the five broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC) was evaluated as well as 10 highly-rated cable networks (A&E, FX, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Sci Fi, Showtime, TBS, TNT and USA). Based on the analysis, a grade was assigned to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing.
Key findings include:
• HBO led all networks with 58.5 (42%) of the network’s 140 total programming hours featuring LGBT representation. This is an increase of 16% over the previous season. Of HBO’s 14 original series, 10 included LGBT content and of the four that did not, three were sports news programming.
• For the third year in a row, ABC led the broadcast networks in LGBT-inclusive content. Of its 1,146.5 total hours of primetime programming, 269.5 hours (24%) included LGBT impressions and 9% were transgender-inclusive, making ABC the most fair, accurate and inclusive of the five broadcast networks.
• For the first time since GLAAD began this analysis, the network rankings changed and Fox rose to third place with 82.5 (11%) LGBT-inclusive hours, out of 782.5 total primetime programming hours. This is an increase from last year's analysis, in which Fox's LGBT content was tallied at 4% and received a “failing” grade. However, Fox also aired some problematic LGBT programming.
• CBS saw the greatest decline among the broadcast networks this year, dropping to last place with 60 hours (5%) of LGBT-inclusive content, out of 1,148 total hours of primetime programming.
• Of the 10 cable networks evaluated, Showtime was the only network to receive a Good rating, airing 20.5 (26%) LGBT-inclusive hours, out of 77.5 total hours of primetime programming.
• TNT had the biggest increase among all networks. In last year’s NRI, TNT received a Failing grade for airing a single hour (1%) of content. This year, TNT rose 18%, airing 13 LGBT inclusive hours (19%) out of its 69 total hours of original programming.
• TBS only offered a half hour (1%) and A&E aired two hours (1%) of LGBT-inclusive programming out of 39.5 and 166.5 total hours of original primetime programming, respectively. This resulted in the networks tying for the lowest ranking and score among the 10 cable networks evaluated.