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After a year of decline, the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender on broadcast television has increased to the highest level ever recorded, according to a new study from watchdog group GLAAD.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 17th annual “Where We are on TV” report has found that the number of regular LGBT characters on broadcast networks has hit a record. Fox’s Glee was found to have the most inclusive show on broadcast, with six recurring characters (Kurt, Blaine, Santana, Brittany, Sebastian and Unique).
LGBT characters account for 4.4 percent of scripted series regulars for the 2012-13 broadcast schedule, up from 2.9 percent in 2011 and 3.9 percent in 2010.
Cable networks, too, also increased also increased representation of LGBT characters with HBO’s True Blood leading the way which with its six characters. On the scripted cable side, regular LGBT characters rose to 35, up from 29 for the 2012-13 season.
“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,” GLAAD president Herndon Graddick said. “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, co-workers 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.”
GLAAD reviewed 97 scripted TV offerings across ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the CW and counted a total of 701 series regulars, with 31 of those LGBT characters and another 19 recurring. ABC led the networks with 5.2 percent (10 out of 194), topping last year’s leader, Fox, which ranked second with six out of 118. The CW remained even with four out of 81, with NBC featuring seven out of 166. CBS, despite adding gay-themed comedy Partners this season, improved to feature four out of 142 characters, jumping from 0.7 percent last year to 2.8 percent.
On cable, Showtime featured the highest number of LGBT characters with 12, including seven series regulars. HBO followed with nine, FX (eight), Adult Swim (five) and ABC Family, MTV, Syfy and Teen Nick with four each.
The full report can be found on GLAAD’s site.
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