Every year, GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), releases an annual report of how well television networks are doing and depicting gay, lesbian, bi or transgendered characters on television. It’s called the Network Responsibility Index and this is it’s fifth year in use. The survey of original programming on major networks assess the quality, quantity and diversity of images of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters in primetime. So who came out on top?
It seems as though ABC Family knows how to do it right. It doesn’t hurt when one of your hit shows, Pretty Little Liars has a leading lesbian lady (who’s not afraid to show it either). In actual fact, in all of the 103 hours of programming that GLAAD watched from ABC Family, they found 55% of those hours to include LGBT images. That’s pretty impressive. Another ABC Family show that helped them out with Greek which features both gay and bi storylines.
“Programs like ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘Greek’ have woven gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters into their stories in a way that mirrors the diversity of our community and the experiences of younger generations. Viewers expect to see television environments that accurately reflect what it’s like to be a young adult, and today that includes young adults who happen to be gay.” – GLAAD senior director of programs Herndon Graddick
So how did other networks fair?
Showtime, HBO, TNT, Lifetime, AMC and SyFy all received a Good rating from GLAAD, while the USA Network improved to an Adequate rating after receiving a haunting Failing grade last television season. Impressively but not surprisingly, ABC, FOX and The CW all scored great ratings as well with 33% of their original programming displaying LGBT images and storylines. What about major networks CBS and NBC? They are only adequate like the USA network.
Want to check out the full report? Visit GLAAD’s website.