For the past six years, GLAAD has been researching primetime television programs to evaluate not only the quantity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on television, but the quality of their images. Using the Network Responsibility Index (NRI) to evaluate TV networks ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, NBC and 10 cable networks, GLAAD recently released their findings from June 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012.
Using the NRI, GLAAD aims to help networks increase "fair, accurate and inclusive LGBT media representations." The organization claims that while representation was "largely stable" in the 2011-2012 TV season, no networks received an "Excellent" score.
So who ranked high and who sunk low? Check out the results below.
Like Showtime, Disney-owned ABC gained a "Good" score from GLAAD. Out of the 1101.5 total hours of primetime programming during the 2011-2012 season for ABC, 302 hours (27%) included LGBT. ABC's LGBT percentage rose from their 2010-2011 score of 23%.
GLAAD sighted ABC's biggest achievement for the 2011-2012 season as casting transgender advocate Chaz Bono in the fall 2012 season of "Dancing with the Stars." ABC's biggest flop for GLAAD was the cancelled sitcom "Work It," which revolved around two men who dressed as women to get jobs. The organization argues that the show mocked transgender women.
CBS gathered a "Failing" score for the 2011-2012 season. Out of 1110 total hours of primetime programming, only 92.5 hours (8%) included LGBT. The network dropped from their already low score of 10% in the 2010-2011 season. CBS does have a "consistent" number of LGBT impressions in their reality programs ("Big Brother," "The Amazing Race" and "Survivor"), but their original programming lacks diversity.
GLAAD does however praise the network for the upcoming new series "Partners," a sitcom featuring a gay couple in the lead role.
Out of 524 total hours of primetime programming, the CW had 152 hours (29%) LGBT inclusive. The network did drop from last year's 33%, but still maintained a "Good" score this year.
GLAAD praises "America's Next Top Model" for its casting of "Miss" J. Alexander, Jay Manuel and Andre Leon Talley. The reality show also had transgender model Isis King and lesbian model Kayla Ferrell participate in the "All-Stars" season of "America's Next Top Model." The network also has a couple of new shows set to premiere that will feature LGBT characters. Viewers can look to "Emily Owns, M.D.," and "The Carrie Diaries."
Fox may have dropped from their 29% LGBT inclusion last year, but still retained a "Good" score. Out of 772 hours of primetime programming, 176.5 (24%) were LGBT inclusive.
GLAAD praised "Glee" for featuring numerous LGBT relationships, as well as the occasionally offensive animated comedies on Sunday night ("Cleveland Show," "The Simpsons" and "American Dad").
As for areas of improvement, GLAAD suggests amping up the LGBT competitors on their reality series. The organization claims that a flop for Fox stems from the cancelled series "Allen Gregory," which featured a gay father and a "'straight' man he 'talked into' leaving his wife and previous family for."
NBC drew in an "Adequate" score for their 198.5 (19%) LGBT hours out of 1072 total hours of primetime programming. GLAAD reports that "Smash" and "The Voice" account for a majority of the LGBT inclusive programming. The organization praises the network for the upcoming LGBT portrayals in "The New Normal" and "Chicago Fire."
ABC Family received a "Good" score despite dropping from its 2010-2011 score. This year out of 141 total hours of primetime programming, 48.5 hours (34%) were LGBT inclusive.
GLAAD cites the reason from the drop from 55% in 2010-2011 to 34% in 2011-2012 was due to the cancellation of "GREEK" and "Huge." "Pretty Little Liars" and "Secret Life of the American Teenager" has had a steady of LGBT impressions in the last year though.
FX gained an "Adequate" score this year. Out of the 85.5 hours of primetime programming, 29 (34%) of them were LGBT inclusive. GLAAD praised "American Horror Story" and "Archer for their regular LGBT content
Gaining a "Good" score for 2011-2012, HBO had 68.5 (33%) hours LGBT inclusive out of 208.5 primetime programming hours. GLAAD cites "True Blood" as a "one of the most inclusive shows on television last season," but acknowledges that this year was a tough one for its LGBT characters.
The History Channel
For its 12 LGBT inclusive hours out of 379 primetime programming hours, the History Channel received a "Failing" score. The organization reports that the only program ("Full Metal Jousting") on the channel to consistently feature LGBT inclusive content.
MTV took in an "Adequate" score, with 59.5 (23%) LGBT inclusive hours out of 261.5 total primetime programming hours. GLAAD praises "The Real World: San Diego" for the inclusion of bisexual housemate Frank and lesbian housemate Sam.
Taking in a "Good" score, GLAAD reports that 46% of Showtime's original programming had either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender "impressions" in them. A total of 55 hours out of 118.5 included LGBT. GLAAD recognizes reality series "The Real L World" and scripted drama "Shameless."
TBS took in a "Failing" score for having two out of 37 total primetime programming hours be LGBT inclusive. GLAAD reports that none of TBS' original programming included LGBT content. The two hours recorded came from the airing of the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
With 110 out of 545.5 hours being LGBT inclusive, TLC took in an "Adequate" score. GLAAD acknowledges that a majority of LGBT impressions on the network came from shows that featured openly gay men helping women (generally involving clothes, dresses and weddings).
TNT took home a "Good" score from GLAAD for 39 out its 119 primetime hours being LGBT inclusive. The organization recognizes "Southland" for its gay LAPD officer character John Cooper.
Gaining an "Adequate" score, USA had 23 out of its 132 primetime programming hours LGBT inclusive. GLAAD cites that the best move the network made was upgrading the character of Diana Barrigan of "White Collar" to a series regular.
What do you think of the GLAAD network ratings?
Amanda Remling studied journalism at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.
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