GLAAD Network Responsibility Index Covered by The Tonight Show; SyFy Promises Change

July 30, 2009
GLAAD's third annual Network Responsibility Index, which analyzes the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT images on television, spread across the internet, radio and television following its release early Monday morning. The Associated Press broke the story at 12:01am on July 27 and was promptly picked up numerous outlets, including popular blogs such as Towleroad, Socialite Life and AfterEllen. The story was also carried by major news outlets, including The Huffington Post, ABC News, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly. In print, The Hollywood Reporter ran a front page story on the Network Responsibility Index. The print editions of The New York Times and The New York Daily News also picked up the story. GLAAD's Senior Director of Media Programs, Rashad Robinson, was interviewed about the report by CBS Radio and KFWB in Los Angeles. On TV, CNN's Showbiz Tonight and American Morning reported on GLAAD's findings, but perhaps the most memorable (and hilarious) reference to the Network Responsibility Index came courtesy of Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show: TV Guide's Matt Mitovich also did an excellent job of covering GLAAD's report. After his initial story, Mitovich reached out to the networks that received Failing grades in the Network Responsibility Index. Although most declined comment, SyFy's executive vice president of original content, Mark Stern, touted several gay characters on upcoming series.
Ming-Na as Camille Wray in Stargate: Universe

Ming-Na as Camille Wray in Stargate: Universe

"On Stargate Universe, one of the main female characters, we discover, is a lesbian and has a wife at home. It's a pretty important facet of who that character is," he says. ER alum Ming-Na plays intergalactic diplomat Camille Wray, while 24's Reiko Aylesworth recurs as her wife.   Similarly the Galactica prequel spin-off Caprica has at least two main characters depicted as being in gay relationships. "[One] is a 'goodfella'-type, and we discover in a nonchalant way that he is gay, with a husband," Stern says. "It was very interesting to me to take what is traditionally a very heterosexual role in an organization that we think of as being extremely homophobic, and put a gay character in that world in a very normalized way."  
We commend SyFy for working to ensure the LGBT community is fairly represented in their original programming and hope that the other networks will take our recommendations to heart as well.