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Broadcast TV a Little Less Gay

Aug 21, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s annual report on diversity for the broadcast networks’ prime-time series revealed the 2006-07 TV season is shaping up to be a little less gay than last season.

GLAAD analyzed the 95 prime-time comedies and dramas slated to air in the new season on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The CW and MyNetworkTV. Out of a total of 679 series regular lead or supporting characters, GLAAD counted only nine gay and lesbian characters—1.3 percent of the total—appearing on eight scripted network programs.

An additional five recurring gay or lesbian characters have been announced for this year.

There are currently no bisexual or transgender representations on the broadcast networks.

At the launch of the 2005-06 season, GLAAD counted 10 lesbian, gay and bisexual series regulars (representing 1.4 percent of all characters), with an additional six lesbian, gay and bisexual recurring characters.

CBS’s “The Class” and The CW’s “Hidden Palms” offer leading gay characters on scripted broadcast television. But the exit of “Will & Grace,” which concluded in May after its eighth season and featured two gay lead characters; and CBS’s “Out of Practice” and ABC’s “Crumbs,” which were cancelled; leaves most of the characterizations of gays and lesbians as supporting players, GLAAD reported.

In addition, the organization bemoaned a lack of racial and gender diversity within the nine gay or lesbian characters in scripted series, with seven out of nine representing gay white men.

Straight white male characters do well on scripted broadcast television in general.

The ethnicity represented in prime time is predominantly anglo at 513 (75 percent). GLAAD counted 81 black characters in scripted broadcast shows, down 2 percent from 2005-06. Latino representation rose 1 percent to a total of 49 characters. Eighteen characters (3 percent) are Asian/Pacific Islander, 11 (2 percent) are multiracial and four (1 percent) are Middle Eastern.

“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,” GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said.