Meet the Networks That Aren't Making the Grade
BY Michelle Garcia
August 03 2011 6:00 AM ET
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's annual report on the media's portrayal of LGBT people contains results that range from surprising (ABC Family is rated "excellent") to perhaps not so surprising (CBS is rated "adequate" after it was called a "failure" last year). Each year the GLAAD Network Responsibility Index grades the networks based on the percentage of prime-time programming featuring LGBT characters and assigns the networks a grade of excellent, good, adequate, or failing.
Among the broadcast networks, the CW, Fox, and ABC were given high marks for shows like Gossip Girl, Glee, and Grey's Anatomy respectively. Still, gay males make up the bulk of LGBT portrayals in broadcast programming — on average nearly three out of four LGBT-inclusive hours featured gay male characters — and transgender people were included in only 1% of gay-inclusive programming.
When it comes to cable, premium channels are breaking down barriers with shows like True Blood on HBO and The Real L Word on Showtime. And the big winner among cablers was ABC Family, which posted an 18-percentage-point increase in LGBT visibility — out of 103 total hours of original prime-time programming, 55% included LGBT impressions. ABC Family president Michael Riley released a statement to the press, saying, “We’re proud of our programming, and grateful for the recognition from GLAAD. We strive to reflect the rich diversity of our audience and the world around us, including the LGBT community, through strong characters and engaging, authentic storytelling.”
But even with all the progress being made on the small screen, there are still a few networks that could step up their gay inclusion. Check out the grades of the bottom six networks and what GLAAD says could make them a little friendlier.