The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) annual report on US television reveals that after a significant increase last year, the upcoming season will show a decrease in the number of LGBT characters on free-to-air American networks.
The 16th annual Where We Are On TV report shows, however, that the overall LGBT character count will remain steady on cable pay-TV networks.
The study reviewed 91 scripted television programs scheduled to air in the 2011-2012 season, and counted a total of 647 series regular characters, 19 of which are LGBT.
In addition, GLAAD counted 14 recurring LGBT characters on scripted primetime broadcast television this season.
“While the number of LGBT characters is down, some of the most popular shows with critics and viewers such as Glee, True Blood and The Good Wife weave storylines about gay and lesbian characters into the fabric of the show,” said GLAAD Acting President Mike Thompson.
“Whether it’s the growing household of Mitchell and Cameron on Modern Family or the recent wedding of Callie and Arizona on Grey’s Anatomy, Americans expect to see the diversity of our country represented in their favourite programs and that includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Fox is now the most inclusive broadcast television network, with 6.8% of regular characters being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In 2007, the Where We Are on TV report found zero LGBT series regulars on the network.
For the second year in a row, HBO’s True Blood is one of the most LGBT inclusive programs on television with six characters and is tied this year with the Showtime series Shameless.
Of the 19 announced LGBT regular characters in the 2011-2012 primetime broadcast season, not one LGBT character will be black or transgender.