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GLAAD study: 1.3%
of prime-time TV characters are gay

GLAAD study: 1.3%
of prime-time TV characters are gay

According to an analysis conducted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the number of LGBT scripted representations on the six major broadcast networks will make up only 1.3% of all series regular characters on the networks' 2006-2007 schedule.

"In the last year, we've seen a tremendous amount of visibility on the big screen, reaching a large audience anxious to see our stories," said GLAAD president Neil G. Giuliano. "The networks, though, are not tapping into this audience and are failing to represent the reality and diversity of their viewers and the world around them."

GLAAD analyzed the 95 announced prime-time comedies and dramas on the broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, the CW, and MyNetworkTV. Out of a total 679 series regular lead or supporting characters, GLAAD counts only nine gay or lesbian characters--1.3%--appearing on eight different scripted network programs. There are an additional five semiregular recurring characters announced for this year. There are currently no bisexual or transgender representations on the broadcast networks.

At the launch of the 2005-2006 season, GLAAD counted 10 series regulars (representing 1.4% of all characters), with an additional six recurring characters. While the year-to-year numbers are relatively consistent, the profile of the roles has been greatly reduced. The exit of shows like NBC's Will & Grace, CBS's Out of Practice, and ABC's Crumbs leaves many of the characterizations of gays and lesbians as minor or supporting players. In addition, this year seven out of the nine characters are gay white men.

Meanwhile, on the mainstream cable networks, GLAAD counts 25 LGBT series regular characters that will appear during the 2006-2007 season, the same number as last year. Cable networks Here and Logo provide additional programming specifically for an LGBT audience.

For 11 years GLAAD has reported on the state of LGBT characters on television. For the second year in a row GLAAD has examined the race and gender, in addition to the sexual orientation, of all 679 series regulars scheduled to appear on the broadcast networks during the 2006-2007 season, based on information the networks provided by August 18. The findings show that the ABC network ranks highest in overall diversity, while Fox ranks lowest. For a complete breakdown by network click on

GLAAD's analysis found that male characters outweigh females 387 (57%) to 292 (43%) and that the faces on scripted network programs continue to be predominantly white at 513 (75%). African-Americans make up 81 (12%) of the characterizations, down 2% from the previous season. Latino and Latina representation rose 1% for a total of 49 (7%). There are 18 (3%) Asian-Pacific Islander characters, 11 (2%) multiracial characters, four (1%) of Middle Eastern origin, and three nonhuman characters.

"When you look at prime time's dismal lack of LGBT characters--combined with the continuing underrepresentation of people of color, gay and straight alike--it's clear that the broadcast networks have a long way to go before they accurately reflect the diversity of their audience and our society," said Giuliano. (The Advocate)

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