Tag Archives: channels

Deadly season for lesbian, bisexual TV characters

A record number of gay characters are featured on broadcast series, but small-screen shows overall can be deadly for the female ones, according to a study released this fall.

More than 25 lesbian and bisexual female characters died on scripted broadcast, cable and streaming series this year, the media advocacy group GLAAD found in its report on small-screen diversity.

While TV remains far ahead of film in gay representations, the medium “failed queer women this year” by continuing the “harmful ‘bury your gays’ trope,” the report said.

The violent deaths included characters Poussey Washington (played by Samira Wiley on “Orange is the New Black”) and Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack on “Wentworth”).

It’s part of a decade-long pattern in which gay or transgender characters are killed to further a straight character’s story line, GLAAD said, sending what it called the “dangerous” message that gay people are disposable.

For its annual report titled “Where We Are on TV,” researchers tallied the LGBTQ characters seen or set to be portrayed in the period from June 2016 to May 2017. Counts were based on series airing or announced and for which casting has been confirmed.

The study, which in 2005 began examining other aspects of diversity on TV, found record percentages of people of color and people with disabilities depicted on broadcast shows.

Among the detailed findings:

  • Broadcast TV includes the highest percentage of regularly appearing gay characters — 4.8 percent — since Gay rights organization GLAAD began its count 21 years ago.

Among nearly 900 series regular characters on ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC, 43 characters are LGBTQ, up from 35 last season.

  • Streamed shows included 65 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters, up six from last season. Lesbians, including characters on “One Mississippi” and “Orange is the New Black,” account for the majority of characters, 43 percent, a far higher share than on broadcast or cable.
  • Cable series held steady with 142 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters, with a 5 percent increase in the number of gay men but a 2 percent drop in the number of lesbian characters depicted.
  • The number of transgender characters in regular or recurring appearances on all platforms has more than doubled from last season, from seven to 16.
  • Characters with a disability represented 1.7 percent of all regularly seen broadcast characters, up from 0.9 percent last season. Each platform has at least one LGBTQ character that’s HIV-positive, with only one such character a regular (Oliver on “How to Get Away with Murder”).
  • African-Americans will be 20 percent (180) of regularly seen characters on prime-time broadcast shows this season, the highest share yet found by GLAAD. But black women are underrepresented at 38 percent of the total, or 69 characters.
  • The percentage of regularly appearing Asian-Pacific Islanders on broadcast TV hit 6 percent, the highest tally found by GLAAD and slightly more than the group’s U.S. population percentage. Contributing to the increase are the Asian-American family shows “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Dr. Ken.”
  • Latino characters rose a point to 8 percent, equaling the highest representation found two seasons ago by GLAAD. That differs sharply from the 17 percent Latino representation in the U.S. population as measured by the Census Bureau, the report said.

Samantha Bee’s ‘Full Frontal’ ready to create a buzz

After a day of dutifully answering reporters’ questions about her new TBS show, Full Frontal, Samantha Bee confesses to an urgent desire.

“I want a ponytail so badly. I want my hair out of my face. I want my jeans on and flat shoes,” says Bee, glammed up at the moment in a body-hugging dress and challenging heels.

She’s out of luck. The cheekily titled Full Frontal, a weekly slice of satire that debuted Feb. 8, will keep the former Daily Show correspondent relentlessly on-camera and well-groomed.

In the early going, Bee is flying solo as the host and only field reporter, applying the expertise acquired in a decade-plus on Jon Stewart’s show to issues and events she’s passionate about.

One possibility: a look at the subpar medical service accorded female military veterans.

Other correspondents and guests eventually will join her, says Bee, who’s an executive producer for the show, along with Jason Jones, her husband and former Daily Show colleague.

But for now, the talented comedian and writer will play Queen Bee — a welcome change from most of TV, where guys dominate talk and comedy shows.

Full Frontal will air Mondays at 9:30 p.m. on TBS. Here’s the buzz on what lies ahead for Bee and her show.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW

“The roots are firmly planted in The Daily Show, but we’re definitely trying to grow from that experience. We’re trying to push forward,” Bee says. “But Jo (Miller, an executive producer) is from there. We worked together for years. The man running the field (reports) department is a close friend, Miles Kahn, who worked for a decade at The Daily Show.

So topical, sharp-edged observation will rule -— but funny, natch.

“With comedy, you can’t start a piece saying, ‘We’re going to make a change happen, we’re going to change the world with this comedy,’ because then nothing would be funny at all,” she says. “But we’re definitely attracted to stories that … shine a light on something. Somebody should be paying attention to these things.”

NO VISITORS ALLOWED, YET

Guests, celebrity or otherwise, won’t be on hand in the show’s early going.

“To be perfectly honest, we’re not that interested in pop culture stuff … we’re steeped in it like anybody else, but it’s not our particular interest. We’ll almost certainly have guests at some point but we would like to think we could fold them in organically,” she said, then took a beat and added: “I guess if Tom Cruise calls, you really have to put him on the show.”

CAST YOUR VOTE

Will Full Frontal gorge on the presidential election, in grand Daily Show tradition?

“We’ll definitely cover it. We’ll go to the conventions. We’ll just have to. It’s going to get pretty crazy out there, and it already is.”

But while it’s “an interest and a passion” Bee says, it won’t be the whole show.

THAT WORK-FAMILY BALANCE THING

Bee and Jones, the parents of three preteen children, are producing Full Frontal and Detour, a TBS comedy starring Jones that will debut in April. The sitcom was shot last summer in Atlanta, during the kids’ school break, but Full Frontal has to mesh with daily family life.

“Living in New York, we try to keep everything on our side of the island and streamline the process. So when we were looking for a studio space, it was like, ‘Can we just use this one, it’s 20 blocks from my house?’ I can walk to the studio,” Bee says.

Equal division of labor is key.

“My husband’s been really diligent about it. Since I’ve been working on Full Frontal, he’s done all the school concerts, all the potlucks. I make breakfasts and lunches in the morning, he does the (school) drop-offs,” Bee says.

AND FOR THE RECORD…

The premiere of Bee’s show will make her the only woman hosting a late-night show, albeit one not on the Big 4 networks. Why aren’t there other female late-night hosts? 

“I don’t really know,” Bee says, “but I think there will be, really darn soon.”

At a Glance: Internet TV options

You’ve heard about Comcast’s new streaming video service. A glance now at the ever-changing viewer’s scape of Internet TV options.

COMCAST

Monthly price: $15.

Live offering: A dozen networks, including HBO.

On demand: Yes.

Restrictions: Internet customers only.

AMAZON

Monthly price: $8.25; only through $99-a-year Amazon Prime subscription.

Live offering: None.

On demand: Apart from original shows such as “Transparent,” offerings tend to be past seasons, plus movies. Next-day access to shows for $2 or $3 an episode.

Restrictions: Not available directly on Apple TV. Prime requires one-year commitment.

CBS ALL-ACCESS

Monthly price: $6.

Live offering: More than 90 markets.

On demand: Day-after access to shows on mobile devices (on traditional computers, it’s free without a subscription). Full seasons for many shows, not just past five episodes. Past seasons for a handful of shows, including “The Good Wife,” ‘’Survivor,” ‘’The Amazing Race” and “60 Minutes.”

Restrictions: No apps for streaming TV devices. Some sports blackouts.

DISH’S SLING TV

Monthly price: Starts at $20.

Live offering: About 20 channels, including ESPN, ABC Family, AMC and Food Network. No broadcast channels like CBS or NBC. Add-on packages for sports, movies, kids, lifestyles and world news available for $5 each and HBO for $15.

On demand: No recording of channels, though some offer older episodes, including HBO. Access to WatchESPN on-demand app, with others coming.

Restrictions: Can watch only one stream at a time, so members of households will need multiple subscriptions, although HBO content can be streamed on three devices at a time. DVR controls, such as pause and rewind, aren’t available for many channels. NFL blackouts on mobile devices.

HBO NOW

Monthly price: About $15.

Live offering: New episodes are available through apps about the same time they are shown on TV.

On demand: Current and past seasons of most HBO shows, including “Games of Thrones,” ‘’Girls” and “The Sopranos.” Hundreds of movies, including those from Universal, Fox, Warner Bros. and Summit.

Restrictions: Can subscribe only through a partner. Apple has exclusive deal among non-traditional distributors and requires Apple TV, an iPhone or iPad to sign up (you can then watch through a browser on other devices). Cablevision is the only pay-TV provider so far to offer HBO Now.

HULU

Monthly price: $8 for Plus, though many shows are free on Windows and Mac computers.

Live offering: None.

On demand: Next-day access to shows from ABC, NBC, Fox and CW, along with some cable channels. Some movies and original shows.

Restrictions: Fox and CW shows restricted to pay-TV subscribers for first week. ABC requires pay-TV or Hulu Plus subscription during that time. Plus also needed for viewing on mobile and streaming TV devices.

ITUNES

Monthly price: None.

Live offering: None, except for special events such as iTunes music festival.

On demand: Next-day access to shows for $2 or $3 an episode.

Restrictions: No Android devices. Apple TV is only streaming device supported.

MLB.TV

Monthly price: $20 (or $110 for full season).

Live offering: All Major League Baseball games, subject to hometown blackouts.

On demand: All games.

Restrictions: Lots of blackouts. Extra $5 a month or $20 for season to watch on mobile and streaming TV devices. Separate package available for minor-league games.

NETFLIX

Monthly price: Starts at $8.99

Live offering: None.

On demand: Apart from original shows such as “House of Cards,” offerings tend to be past seasons, plus movies.

Restrictions: Ultra high-definition (4k) streaming for $3 more, standard-definition only for $1 less.

NICKELODEON’S NOGGIN

Monthly price: $6

Live offering: None.

On demand: Games and activities created for service alongside archives of shows no longer on any of Nickelodeon’s TV channels. Aimed at preschoolers.

Restrictions: Available on Apple mobile devices only at first.

SONY’S PLAYSTATION VUE

Monthly price: Starts at $50.

Live offering: Base plan with CBS, NBC and Fox broadcast channels and cable channels from AMC, Discovery, Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps, Turner and Viacom. Additional sports and other channels for $10 or $20 more. More than 50 channels in basic; more than 85 in all. Main omissions: CW network and Disney channels, including ESPN and ABC.

On demand: Recording capabilities with unlimited storage, though shows expire after 28 days. Many shows over the past three days are automatically available. Access to some channels’ on-demand apps.

Restrictions: Available in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles only. Up to three simultaneous streams in a home, but each must have a separate PlayStation 3 or 4, and only one can be PS4. Some content is available on an iPad app for out-of-home viewing, but a PlayStation is still required for set-up.

Roku TV will stream video without set-top box

Roku Inc. is launching a line of TVs that play video from services like Netflix without requiring a set-top box. While similar to smart TVs on the market already, the company’s Internet streaming platform offers some 1,200 apps and more comprehensive niche content choices.

The Saratoga, Calif.-based streaming set-top box pioneer is partnering with two of the biggest Chinese TV makers in the world, TCL Corp. and Hisense International Co. Ltd. on six models. It showcased them on the sidelines of the annual International CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week.

The Roku TV will also provide users a way to access feeds from regular live TV providers and to connect to other devices such as Blu-ray disc players.

Roku launched its first streaming video player in May 2008, when the box only played content from Netflix. Since then, the company has sold nearly 8 million units and claims that its device is more widely used than Apple’s Apple TV set-top box. Apps available on Roku’s devices include everything from Amazon Instant Video to Karaoke Party on Demand.

Anthony Wood, the founder and CEO of Roku, said the TVs will be priced affordably. He expects the sets to be sold in the U.S. at large retailers such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy starting in late 2014.

Wood says he would like the Roku platform to replace those offered by a variety of TV manufacturers. Many TV makers’ platforms lack key apps from content providers like ESPN, Fox and the NBA.

Roku shares in the revenue when its partners sell advertisements, rent movies or sign up new subscribers. Within a few years, such revenue will be larger than the sales of the boxes themselves, Wood says.

“We do believe that streaming players are going to be a big business for a long time,” he says. “But this is definitely the future of Roku.”