GLAAD TV Report: ABC Family, HBO, MTV “Excellent”; A&E, History, TNT Fail

ABC Family, HBO & MTV have gone to the head of the class, earning the highest marks from GLAAD in its eighth annual Network Responsibility Index, which rates LGBT content on networks during the 2013-14 TV season. For the first time in the same year, GLAAD gave the three networks its top grade of Excellent. NBC, which airs Chicago Fire, The Voice and reality series Hollywood Game Night, was the most inclusive broadcast network with 37% of primetime programming having included LGBT images. Fox, the network of Glee and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, came in second at 36%, down 6% from last year. On cable, MTV, which has Awkward, Faking It and Wait Till Next Year, tied with FX with 49% of their primetime programming including LGBT impressions. ABC, the CW, Fox, NBC, FX and Showtime were among the networks given a Good score, while A&E, History and TNT received a Failing grade (full network list by grade below).

GLAAD’s other report released today, titled “Where We Are On TV,” which counts the number of LGBT characters in the 2014-15 television season, found that 3.9% of scripted primetime broadcast series regulars will be LGBT, up from 3.3% last year but down from the record high of 2012. Broadcast networks have taken a step back this year when it comes to gender diversity among LGBT characters. Of the 65 LGBT regular and recurring characters counted on primetime broadcast scripted series, 37 (57%) are male and 28 (43%) are female. On cable, the number of regular LGBT characters has risen to 64 from 42 last year. Fox tops broadcast television with 6.5% of primetime scripted regulars being lesbian, gay or bisexual, up from 5.4% last year. ABC is in second place with 4.5%, and NBC is jumping from last to third place with 3.8%. CBS remains in fourth place at 3.2%, up from 1.9% at the beginning of last season. The complete reports can be viewed here.

GLAAD noted its disappointment with the depiction of transgender people on TV during the past 10 years, describing it as “problematic to outright defamatory”. But, the organization said, thanks to actresses and activists like Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black), public awareness of the transgender community was on the rise. GLAAD announced that beginning with next year’s report, networks must feature significant transgender content in their original programming in order to receive a grade of Excellent.

“Television networks are playing a key role in promoting cultural understanding of LGBT lives around the world and are now producing some of the best LGBT-inclusive programming we’ve yet seen,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “As they move forward with new programs and storylines, networks must also keep an eye towards diversity and strive to include significant transgender content comparable to those efforts being made by their online competitors, such as Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and Amazon’s Transparent.”

Good: ABC, The CW, FOX, NBC, FX, Showtime
Adequate: CBS, TLC, USA
Failing: A&E, History, TNT

Ranking of the Broadcast Networks, 2013-14
Listed by percentage of LGBT-inclusive hours of original primetime programming
1. NBC, 37
2. Fox, 36
3. ABC, 34
4. The CW, 33
5. CBS, 28

Ranking of Cable Networks 2013-14
Listed by percentage of LGBT-inclusive hours of original programming
1. MTV, 49
2. FX, 49
3. ABC Family, 42
4. Showtime, 34
5. HBO, 31
6. TLC, 17
7. USA, 17
8. TNT, 9
9. A&E, 6
10. History, zero

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