LGBT big in networks' script

Survey of fall sked shows most regulars in any year; Fox up from none to 5

The number of gay and lesbian TV characters on the broadcast networks will double to an all-time high this season.

There will be 16 regular characters on major-network scripted series this season who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to an annual survey conducted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

That's more than twice as many as last year and the most in the 13 years GLAAD has been doing the study. The figures also reverse a trend of declining LGBT representation on broadcast, which had dropped the past two years. The number of recurring LGBT characters also is rising this year, up from 13 last season to 19.

"This dramatic increase shows how far many networks have come in developing complex, multilayered lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters," GLAAD president Neil Giuliano said.

Fox is the most-improved network, according to the survey. At the start of last season, the network had no LGBT characters; this year, it will have five — the most of any network. CBS is the only net with no LGBT character as a series regular this season, and the CW, despite its young-skewing demographics and occasional envelope-pushing image, only has one.

With 616 series regulars examined, LGBT characters will represent 2.6% of the scripted series population, up from 1.1% in 2007, 1.3% in 2006 and 1.4% in 2005. (partialdiff)