TLC named inclusive, while History Network fails in presenting LGBT people in Sixth Annual GLAAD Network Responsibility Index

Report shows images of LGBT people and families central part of television landscape; The CW leads broadcast networks for fourth year in a row; Showtime ranks highest among cable networks; CBS returns to Failing grade

 

Matt Kane
Associate Director of Entertainment Media
(323) 634-2013
kane@glaad.org

August 30, 2012

Check out GLAAD's NRI blog post to see results, photos and charts!

Los Angeles, CA, August 30, 2012 - GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today released its sixth annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people on television. Primetime programming on the five broadcast networks was evaluated as well as original primetime programming on 10 major cable networks.

To view the report visit http://www.glaad.org/nri

The number of LGBT images has stabilized this year as the range of impressions continues to grow.  Images of LGBT representations and families are increasingly presented as matter-of-fact manner rather than a curiosity. 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.

For the first time this year GLAAD tracked two highly rated networks known for programming that traditionally appeals to a more conservative audience. History posted the lowest overall percentage (3%) of LGBT inclusive hours of any networks tracked this year. TLC demonstrated that LGBT people can be represented in a wider range of programming formats and subjects with 20% of the 545.5 hours tracked by GLAAD including at least one LGBT impression.

“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 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,” said Graddick.

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%. Transgender storylines are often exploitative and overtly negative; as were recorded on several series on Showtime this year, which prevented the network from receiving an “Excellent” score. One of the highlights in transgender images this year was Chaz Bono’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars which sparked national conversations about the community and created a momentum in transgender representation in reality television.

“The appearance of Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars was a groundbreaking step in transgender representation on television this year,” said Graddick. “His very candid appearance on the program taught many that transgender Americans deserve respect and acceptance.”

The 17th Annual GLAAD Where We Are On TV report on diversity will be issued in the fall of 2012. This analysis will count LGBT characters and storylines as well as the gender and race/ethnicity of all scripted characters scheduled to appear during the 2012-2013 broadcast season.