GLAAD: Record high number of LGBT characters on TV

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The number of regular lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on broadcast networks has risen to the highest ever recorded, while the overall LGBT character count also increased on cable television.

That information is in Where We Are on TV, a report from GLAAD, a national LGBT media advocacy and anti-defamation group. The report is based on a review of scripted LGBT prime time programing 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,” stated GLAAD president Herndon Graddick. “More and more Americans have come to accept their LGBT family members, friends, coworkers, 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.”

LGBT characters account for 4.4 percent of scripted series regulars in the 2012-13 broadcast television schedule. This is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, 3.9 percent in 2010, 3 percent in 2009, 2.6 percent in 2008 and 1.1 percent in 2007.

Regular LGBT characters on scripted cable television also rose this year to 35, up from 29, for the 2012-13 season.

From information provided by five broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW — GLAAD reviewed 97 scripted television programs scheduled to air this upcoming season on the broadcasts networks, and counted a total of 701 series regular characters. 31 of those are LGBT, as are an additional 19 recurring characters.

ABC has the highest amount with 5.2 percent – 10 out of 194 – of their regular characters identifying as LGBT.

After leading last year, Fox is in second with six LGBT characters out of 118 total series regulars.The CW will feature four regular LGBT characters out of 81 total, while NBC will feature seven regular LGBT characters out of 166. CBS also improved and will feature four LGBT characters out of 142 series regulars, up from 0.7 percent from last year. 

On mainstream cable networks, the number of announced LGBT series regular characters has also increased to 35, and will also feature 26 recurring characters for a total of 61 LGBT characters

This year Showtime features the greatest number of LGBT characters on cable with 12; seven of which are series regulars.

Graddick, in a news release, said, “It is vital for networks to weave complex and diverse storylines of LGBT people in the different programs they air.”