Number doubles from seven years ago

Broadcast television will have 16 gay and bisexual regular characters in prime-time series this fall, more than double the seven of a year ago, a new study has found.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it was a positive sign of networks making their shows more representative, although more work needed to be done. These characters accounted for 2.6 percent of all the regular characters in TV series, up from 1.1 percent last year and 1.3 percent in 2006, according to the study, released Monday.

GLAAD President Neil Giuliano singled out Fox for having five such regular characters this fall, considering there were none a year earlier. The character Thirteen on “House” is bisexual, while the new “Do Not Disturb” has a gay man.

None of the 126 regular characters on CBS shows are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, GLAAD said, and only one recurring character – Brad on “Rules of Engagement” – is gay.

ABC will have seven characters that are either gay men or bisexual women this fall, NBC will have three and the CW will have one, according to GLAAD.

A total of 19 recurring characters, those who appear only time to time, fit the category, GLAAD said. That’s up from 13 a year ago.

The number of regular characters fitting the definition fell from 40 to 32 on mainstream cable networks, a count that doesn’t include the gay-oriented networks Logo and here!

There were no lesbians among the regular characters, according to GLAAD. But there are five bisexual women, including the characters of Callie Torres and Erica Hahn on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“As the networks gradually add characters from all backgrounds and all walks of life to prime-time programming, more and more Americans are seeing their LGBT friends and neighbors reflected on the small screen,” Giuliano said.

The lobbying group has been monitoring the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters on TV for four years.

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