ABC Leads Broadcast Networks for Third Year in a Row; NBC and CBS Receive “Failing” Grades for Lack of Inclusion of the LGBT Community
July 27, 2009, Los Angeles, CA – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today released its third annual Network Responsibility Index, a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on television. Primetime programming on the five broadcast networks was evaluated as well as original primetime programming on 10 of the highest-rated cable networks.
HBO scored the highest rating of the 15 networks evaluated with LGBT characters on shows including True Blood, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Entourage that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the LGBT community. Of HBO’s 14 original series, 10 included LGBT content and 42 percent of the network’s total programming hours included LGBT representation.
“This year programming was not only inclusive of LGBT people, but networks like HBO are beginning to reflect the broad diversity within our community,” said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD. “With upcoming fall programming and new storylines there is a tremendous opportunity for networks to share the stories of all members of our community including lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as well as LGBT people of color, all groups which continue to be underrepresented across all networks.”
GLAAD reviewed a total of 4,901 hours of primetime programming for inclusion of LGBT characters or issues on the five major networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC) from June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009. GLAAD also examined 1,212.5 hours of original primetime programming on 10 highly-rated cable networks. Each hour was reviewed for on-screen LGBT representations. Based on the quantity, overall quality and diversity of these representations, a rating was assigned by GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Program to each network: Excellent,Good, Adequate, or Failing.
Additional findings from the GLAAD Network Responsibility Index:
- HBO and Showtime received grades of Good, with HBO leading with 42 percent of programming hours featuring LGBT representations.
- ABC, with shows including Brothers & Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty, again received the highest ranking of the five broadcast networks, earning a Good grade with 24 percent of their primetime programming hours including LGBT representations.
- The CW also received a grade of Good, with 20 percent of their primetime programming hours including LGBT representations.
- While Fox received an Adequate, rising from last place and a Failing grade in 2008; 11 percent of its programming hours were LGBT-inclusive, yet some of those hours included problematic content.
- Among cable networks evaluated, TNT showed the largest growth, jumping from one percent of LGBT inclusive primetime programming hours last year to 19 percent. FX posted the sharpest decline, dropping 32 percent over the previous season. Both were graded
- NBC and CBS received Failing grades, for their 8 and 5 percent, respectively, of programming hours with LGBT images. CBS moved down from third place in last year’s GLAAD Network Responsibility Index to last among the five major broadcast networks.
- A&E, Sci Fi and TBS received grades of Failing.
“Television shows that weave our stories into the fabric of the series present richer, more accurate representations and are the kinds of images that help Americans understand and embrace their LGBT family members, friends and neighbors in a more meaningful way,” said Robinson.
The third annual GLAAD Network Responsibility Index was delivered to programming executives at the 15 graded networks, and GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Program will continue discussions with them to advocate for improvements in the quality, quantity and diversity of their LGBT representations.
The Executive Summary and full report can be viewed online at www.glaad.org/nri2009.
The 14th Annual GLAAD Where We Are On TV report on diversity will be issued in September 2009. This analysis will examine LGBT inclusion as well as the gender and race/ethnicity of all scripted characters scheduled to appear during the 2009-2010 season.