CW tops GLAAD list for LGBT portrayals

Org rates networks on quantity, quality and diversity of images

The broadcast and cable networks are making strides in their inclusion of LGBT images, characters or storylines, according to a new report from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, with the CW topping the org’s fifth annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI) ratings for the second year in a row.

GLAAD’s report noted that 33% of the CW’s primetime programming hours during the survey period included LGBT images, characters or storylines.

Fox landed in second place and ABC third with “good” ratings from the org. NBC ranked fourth with an “adequate” mark, and though CBS improved its rating from “failing” to “adequate,” it still ranked the lowest among the broadcast nets in fifth place.

ABC Family nabbed the NRI’s second-ever “excellent” rating (MTV received the first in 2010) and ranked first among the cable nets. Showtime, TNT, HBO, Lifetime, AMC and Syfy received “good” ratings. USA upped its rating from “failing” to “adequate,” while for the fourth year in a row, A&E and TBS received “fails” on the NRI.

Ratings are based on a combination of the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT images on television compared to overall programming for each net. ABC Family, for example, had 103 hours of original primetime programming surveyed for the NRI.

While GLAAD acknowledged the networks’ gains in offering more LGBT-inclusive programming, the org said the transgender community remains underrepresented or misrepresented.

“Fairly and accurately depicting the transgender community should be seen not just as a responsibility for networks but as an opportunity,” said Mike Thompson, acting prexy of GLAAD. “There are rich characters and stories yet to be written.”

Thompson said the ability to reach diverse auds brings rewards in that “inclusive programming is a hit with critics and audiences alike who cheered for Kurt and Blaine’s romance on ‘Glee’ or watched the wedding of Callie and Arizona on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ … As television audiences get to know our community and the common ground that we all share onscreen and in their own lives, acceptance is growing.”

GLAAD will release its 16th annual “Where We Are on TV” report on diversity in September. Analysis will examine LGBT inclusion as well as the gender and race/ethnicity of all scripted characters scheduled to appear during the 2011-12 season.

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