GLAAD has issued its third annual survey of the top 15 television networks and found that HBO leads the pack in the portrayals of LGBT characters.
In GLAAD’s third annual Network Responsibility Index, which evaluated the five major networks and 10 cable outlets, HBO — the home to True Blood, Entourage and No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency — scored the highest rating and a grade of “Good,” with 42 percent of its programming featuring LGBT content. Showtime placed second. “This year programming was not only inclusive of LGBT people, but networks like HBO are beginning to reflect the broad diversity within our community,” Rashad Robinson, GLAAD’s senior director of media programs, said in a statement. In all, GLAAD evaluated 4,901 hours of prime-time broadcast programming and 1,213 hours from cable, from June 2008 through May 2009.
Also ranking “Good” was ABC, the best-performing of the Big 5. With such shows as Brothers & Sisters and Grey’s Anatomy, ABC boasted LGBT content in 24 percent of its fare. The CW followed with 20 percent. Among the networks graded “Adequate,” Fox (11 percent) rose from its year-ago last-place finish, though GLAAD said that some of its LGBT-inclusive hours included “problematic content.” Namely, a pair of Family Guy episodes — “Family Gay” and “Sit Down, Shut Up” — “included an excess of offensive gay images,” said Robinson. Also, “So You Think You Can Dance” was the subject of a GLAAD Call to Action when judge Nigel Lythgoe made comments about two male dancing partners that were deemed by the organization to be homophobic. Lythgoe later apologized. “Failing” grades went to NBC (8 percent), CBS (5 percent) and cable’s A&E, Syfy and TBS. CBS’ annual ranking dropped from third among broadcast networks to last.
You can download a PDF of GLAAD’s full report here.