Smash, Glee, and Work It: How Did the TV Networks Rank on LGBT Content?

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com August 30 2012 7:40 AM ET

As Labor Day approaches, it's almost time to set up the DVR to record a new season of fall television. And the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation scored the inclusiveness of what was available last season in its annual report — the Network Responsibility Index.

None of the networks received an "Excellent" score, though Showtime came the closest with 46% of its original programming being LGBT-inclusive. GLAAD also tracked the cable networks that it said were viewed as consistently conservative — TLC and the History Channel. See how those two networks fared on page 6 and get a look at the major networks on the following pages.

For the complete report, visit GLAAD.org.

Modern Family
 

ABC - "Good"
1101.5 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
302 LGBT-Inclusive hours (27% or 213 gay, 85 bisexual, 58 lesbian, and 31 transgender)

Inclusive shows: Happy Endings, Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, Dancing With the Stars, Revenge, Suburgatory, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, The Middle, Man Up, Last Man Standing, Expedition Impossible, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Primetime: What Would You Do?
Room for Improvement: Work It. Sure, the show was canceled, but it featured two men dressing as women to get jobs, and most of the humor was derivative of that which mocks transgender women. GLAAD also recommends that more shows include LGBT people of color, such as Luther, James van der Beek's gay assistant on Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23.

The Good Wife

CBS - "Failing"
1110 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
92 LGBT-Inclusive Hours (8% or 48 bisexual, 47 gay, 16 lesbian, and four transgender)

Inclusive shows: The Good Wife, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, Survivor, Same Name, Undercover Boss, The Mentalist, Person of Interest, Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement 
Room for Improvement: Despite revolving storylines, there were reportedly very few LGBT-related stories on many of the procedurals on CBS. However, GLAAD suggests that CSI might explore more after the revelation that agent Dorneget is gay. The new sitcom Partners will likely also boost the network's grade, though GLAAD points out that many of the sitcoms now on the air tend to lean on borderline offensive humor at LGBT characters' expense.  


90210

The CW - "Good"
524 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
152 LGBT-Inclusive Hours (29% or 121 gay, 72 bisexual, 45 lesbian, and five transgender)
Inclusive shows: America's Next Top Model, 90210, The L.A. Complex, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural
Room for Improvement: As long as The L.A. Complex can hang in there and America's Next Top Model continues, the network will have a decent base of LGBT-inclusive content. The addition of The Carrie Diaries and Emily Owens, M.D., which features a lesbian character, will likely also boost the network's rating.

Glee


Fox - "Good"
722 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
176.5 LGBT-Inclusive Hours (24% or 121 bisexual, 97 gay, 53 lesbian, and seven transgender)

Inclusive shows: Glee, The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, American Dad, House, Bones, The Finder, New Girl, Touch, and Raising Hope, So You Think You Can Dance
Room for Improvement: House, which featured bisexual character Thirteen, is no longer on the air, and Bones's bisexual character Angela Montenegro's sexual orientation has been seemingly glossed over for quite a while. Beside Travis Wall's appearances on So You Think You Can Dance, Fox's reality programming has been somewhat sparse when it comes to gay contestants. Allen Gregory, which featured a young boy being raised by two dads (though the sexual orientation of one of the dads was questionable) was canceled. As GLAAD said in the report, the show would have been a good addition to Fox's roster of animated characters, but it turned out to be rather offensive and stereotypical, and audiences had a hard time warming up to the show.

Smash

NBC - "Adequate"
1072 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
198.5 LGBT-Inclusive Hours (19% or 162 gay, 61 lesbian, 30 bisexual, and two transgender)

Inclusive shows: Celebrity Apprentice, Fashion Star, Whitney, Love Bites, The Office, 30 Rock, Smash, America's Got Talent, Who Do You Think You Are, American Giving, Harry's Law, Prime Suspect, The Playboy Club
Room for Improvement: Several of the dramas, such as Prime Suspect, Harry's Law, and The Playboy Club, have been canceled, cutting down on LGBT-inclusive hours. However, one of the shining spots for the network is the upcoming The New Normal, about a gay couple starting a family with the help of a surrogate. A drama, Chicago Fire, will include a lesbian supporting character. Many of the LGBT portrayals in NBC programming were for supporting or onetime roles, so GLAAD recommends trying to feature more LGBT characters in substantial roles.

Say Yes to the Dress

Due to views that the networks were highly conservative in their programming, GLAAD performed a full study on LGBT content for History and TLC and came to two different conclusions.


History - "Failing"
379 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
12 LGBT-Inclusive Hours (3% or 12 gay, zero lesbian, zero bisexual, and zero transgender)
Inclusive shows: Full Metal Jousting, Top Gear

TLC - "Adequate"
545.5 Total Hours of Prime-Time Programming
110 LGBT-Inclusive Hours (20% or 106 gay, four bisexual, three lesbian, zero transgender)
Inclusive shows: Say Yes to the Dress, Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids Edition, Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss, Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Brides of Beverly Hills, What Not To Wear, Undercover Princes, Extreme Couponing, Toddlers & Tiaras, My Crazy Obsession, My Collection Obsession, My Strange Addiction, N.Y. Ink, The Next Great Baker, Cake Boss, Livin' for the Apocalypse