Network Responsibility Index 2009 - 2010

The fourth 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, ABC Family, FX, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Showtime, TBS, TNT and USA). Based on the analysis, a grade was assigned to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing.

Key findings include:

  • This year, MTV becomes the first network, cable or broadcast, to receive an “Excellent” rating in this report due to the quality and diversity of its many LGBT impressions. Of the 10 cable networks evaluated, MTV posted the largest increase and ranked highest for LGBT-inclusive original content. Out of 207.5 total hours of original primetime programming, 87 (42%) hours included LGBT impressions. In addition to the racial and ethnic diversity of its characters, MTV also represented a broad cross-section of the LGBT community in its programming.
  • For the first time since GLAAD began the NRI, ABC did not lead the broadcast networks in its percentage of LGBT-inclusive programming. However, ABC did lead the broadcast networks in total hours of LGBT inclusion. Of its 1147 total hours of primetime programming, 297.5 (26%) included LGBT impressions.
  • After three years in second place, The CW is now the top broadcast network in this report with 198.5 (35%) LGBT-inclusive hours out of 570 total hours of original programming. This is the highest percentage ever recorded for a broadcast network since this report’s inception, though it should be noted that The CW airs less total primetime programming hours than the other broadcast networks.
  • For the first time since GLAAD began this report, all of the five major broadcast networks posted  an increase in LGBT-inclusive primetime programming hours. However, CBS continues to lag behind its competitors, once again earning a “Failing” grade.
  • In addition to MTV’s groundbreaking “Excellent” rating, five networks (ABC Family, HBO, Lifetime, Showtime and TNT) received “Good” ratings, marking the first time that a majority of cable networks received higher than an “Adequate” rating.
  • TBS (2%) and A&E (3%) once again ranked at the bottom among cable networks and were joined by USA (4%) in receiving “Failing” ratings from GLAAD for their lack of LGBT-inclusive original programming.

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