Television Is Gayer Than Ever

For 17 years, GLAAD has tracked the number of LGBT characters appearing on television, both on broadcast networks and cable. Based on their newest report, the television landscape is the gayest ever, featuring the most gay characters in TV history. The number of scripted LGBT series regulars found on the big five networks is 31 while mainstream cable is up to 35 for the upcoming season. GLAAD counted 19 and 26 additional recurring characters on broadcast and cable respectively. The organization might have to think of another acronym than GLAAD as I’m sure they’re beyond ecstatic with these results. Especially, given last year’s report which showed a declined in LGBT representation on the tube.

“This year’s increase of LGBT characters on television reflects a cultural change in the way gay and lesbian people are seen in our society,” says GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, coworkers, and peers, and as audiences tune into their favorite programs, they expect to see the same diversity of people they encounter in their daily lives.”

Last year FOX was the leader amongst broadcast networks, but this year ABC has supplanted them with shows like Happy Endings, Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy leading the way. Over on cable, Showtime is now the new king, or should I say queen. With series regular characters on Shameless and Weeds, they’ve dethroned previous victor, HBO. That said, HBO shouldn’t fret too much, they still have the most inclusive television show on cable with six gay, lesbian and bisexual characters on True Blood.

Notable Facts From 2012 Where We Are On TV Report

  • ABC leads the broadcast networks with 10 of 194 characters (5.2 percent). Fox is in second with six of 118 (5.1 percent), followed by The CW with four of 81 (4.9 percent), NBC with seven of 166 (4.2 percent), and CBS with four of 142 (2.8 percent).
  • There are a total of 31 LGBT characters on the five broadcast networks, as well as 19 recurring characters.
  • LGBT characters account for 4.4 percent of scripted series regulars on the broadcast networks in 2012-13. This is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, 3.9 percent in 2009, 2.6 percent in 2008, and 1.1 percent in 2007.
  • GLAAD also analyzed the race/ethnicity and gender demographics of all 701 series regular characters in primetime television. There are more males (55.5 percent) to females (44.5 percent), and 78 percent of all series regulars are white. Compared to last year, African American representation has increased from 9.9 percent to 12 percent, followed by Latino (4.1 percent) and Asian-Pacific Islander (4.7 percent).
  • Of the 31 announced LGBT regular characters in the 2012-13 season, 11 are people of color (35.5 percent). GLAAD counted seven regular or recurring black LGBT characters on broadcast television, up from zero last year.
  • Showtime leads the cable pack, with 12 total characters, seven of whom are regulars. The runners up include: HBO (9 characters), FX (8), Adult Swim (5), and ABC Family, MTV, Syfy, and TeenNick (4 each).
  • Regular LGBT characters on scripted cable television also rose this year to 35 (up from 29) for the 2012-13 season.

To read the entire Where We Are On TV report, click here.