GLAAD Report: The CW & Showtime Lead In LGBT Representation, CBS “Failing”

GLAAD just released its sixth annual Network Responsibility Index, a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people on television.

No network earned the top “Excellent” rating this year. The CW once again was the top broadcast network during the 2011-12 season, with 29% of its primetime programming hours being LGBT-inclusive. The CW also had the most racial diversity with 62% of impressions made by LGBT people/characters of color, mostly courtesy of America’s Next Top Model. ABC and Fox swapped spots. ABC was at 27%, up 4% from last season, to move up to second place, while Fox (24%) slid 5% to third. ABC’s impressions stemmed largely from reality programming, mainly Dancing With the Stars, which featured transgender Chaz Bono last season, and hit comedy Modern Family, while Fox’s inclusive hours were mostly in comedy, with Glee and American Dad. The CW, ABC and Fox all earned “Good” scores. NBC (19%, “Adequate”) remained in fourth place but its LGBT inclusive hours went up 4%, largely thanks to The Voice and Smash. The network is expected to move up even further next year with new fare like comedy The New Normal.

For the fourth year in a row CBS was stuck in last place with 8% LGBT-inclusive hours of primetime programming, down 2% with a “Failing” score, after improving slightly to “Adequate” last year. Its LGBT impressions were almost exclusively on drama The Good Wife.

On the cable side, ABC Family, which scored a rare “Excellent” rating last year, slipped from first to second place. 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 just two years ago, received an “Adequate” score this year along with FX (34%) and USA (17%). For the fourth year in a row TBS (5%) received a “Failing” rating.

For the first time this year, GLAAD included two cable network it said are “known for programming that traditionally appeals to a more conservative audience,” TLC and History. With 20% LGBT representation, TLC received an “Adequate” grade, while History was at the very bottom of the list with 3% and a “Failing” score.

The diversity of LGBT impressions on the broadcast networks declined slightly from last year, with 66% of LGBT impressions being white. Transgender representation continues to be low on nearly every television network but ticked up from 0.002% last year to 0.01% this year. On cable it was 0.005%. One of the highlights was Chaz Bono’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars. You can read the full report here.

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