The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has scored US TV networks on their LGBT inclusiveness, awarding the once Christian-based ABC Famiily channel an “excellent rating”.
ABC Family became only the second network in GLAAD’s annual report’s history to earn an “Excellent” rating. Launched in 1977, the Christian Broadcast Network was sold to Disney in 2001 and became ABC Family.
Following a strategic revamp in 2006, the cable network began to offer programs for teens and young adults that soon became increasingly LGBT inclusive.
GLAAD said that it is notable that both ABC Family and MTV, which in 2010 received the first-ever “Excellent” rating from GLAAD, are both youth-oriented networks.
Out of 103 total hours of original primetime programming, 56.5 (55%) hours on ABC Family included LGBT impressions. Its stable of LGBT friendly shows include Pretty Little Liars, GREEK and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
“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,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD.
When it came to free-to-air networks, The CW remained the top broadcast network with 33% of its primetime programming hours being LGBT-inclusive, with shows such as 90210, America’s Next Top Model and Gossip Girl.
Fox came in second at 29%, with shows such as Glee, House, The Simpsons and American Dad.
ABC remained in third place in terms of its percentage of LGBT-inclusive programming hours (23%). However, it broadcast the greatest total number of LGBT-inclusive hours (253) in series like Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters and Desperate Housewives.
GLAAD pointed out that one area in which all networks continue to struggle is the underrepresentation or misrepresentation of the transgender community.
There were no regular or recurring transgender characters on any networks tracked in this year’s report. And while there were several one-episode stories that included transgender characters, almost none were ideal representations, said GLAAD.