Primetime sees rise in gay roles

'Modern Family,' 'Glee' among shows with LGBT characters

Primetime boasts more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters than ever, according to a new report.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 15th annual “Where We Are on TV” study found that the networks have showcased 23 LGBT primetime characters in the 2010-2011 season, making up 3.9% of all scripted series regulars.

That’s up from 3% last year, as well as 1.1% in 2007. The study also found that cable had once again increased the number of LGBT regulars, to 35 this year (from 25 last year).

“The increase in lesbian, gay and bisexual characters on primetime television not only reflects the shift in American culture toward greater awareness and understanding of our community, but also a new industry standard that a growing number of creators and networks are adopting,” said GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios.

Barrios cited the recent success of “Modern Family” and “Glee,” both of which feature prominent gay characters.

ABC leads all broadcast networks, with 11 LGBT out of 152 total characters, or 7.2% of its schedule.

Fox is next, with 5% of its characters (five out of 100); followed by the CW (4.5%, or three out of 67); then NBC (2.1%, or three out of 143) and CBS (0.8%, or one out of 125).

GLAAD also found that HBO’s “True Blood” featured the most LGBT characters of any show, and that TV features just one transgender character (on Teen Nick’s “Degrassi.”

GLAAD also surveyed the race, gender and ethnicity of primetime characters, finding that male characters (59%) lead females (41%) while 77% of all characters were white, followed by African American (12%), Latino (5%) and Asian Pacific American (4%).

And for the first time, the GLAAD survey counted people with disabilities, finding six characters (or 1% of all characters).

The GLAAD survey found a total of 587 series regular characters in 84 scripted programs this fall.

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