Logo and Bravo are no longer the only networks to attract a large LGBT audience.
GLAAD, that nation’s LGBT media advocacy organization, has released the ninth—and final—edition of their Network Responsibility Index (NRI), which rates television networks on the quality and quantity of representation by the LGBT community.
It’s been a strong year for LGBT equality, and the GLAAD report is just further proof as to how far the community has come in terms of mainstream visibility and acceptance. The gays are still taking over TV.
FOX, known for its conservative news, was one of two networks—and the only broadcast network—to top the list’s grade of “Excellent” with 45.4 percent of LGBT-inclusive original programming hours. That’s the highest percent GLAAD has tracked to date for a broadcast network. The network, in total, was up 9 percent from last year. ABC Family, a cable network, tops the list entirely at 74 percent.
Shows like Glee, Empire and How to Get Away With Murder created shows that both featured LGBT-inclusive characters and were casted by a high number of people of color within that community.
“This milestone highlights real change across the media landscape—especially considering that the network received a “Failing” grade in the NRI’s first two editions,” GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release.
Standing alongside FOX was ABC Family, which comes at no surprise—the cable network has been a frontrunner of inclusiveness for three years. Shows like The Fosters, which features lesbian characters and storylines, Pretty Little Liars, and Switched at Birth, helped them gain the highest-ever percentage of LGBT programming, 74 percent, which included a transgendered character played by an actual transgender actor. That’s almost twice as high as last year’s score of 42 percent.
The index also looked at the racial diversity of cast members. ABC Family led the report with 49 percent of their LGBT cast being portrayed by people of color. CW led the network ratings at 38 percent while FOX, who runs the smash hit Empire, came in second with 36 percent.
ABC, CW, FX, HBO, MTV and Showtime received a grade of “good.” CBS, NBC, TLC, TNT, and USA were bestowed an “adequate” rating while A&E and History, which had zero percent representation, received a “failing” grade.
Out of 362.5 of original programming hours, History failed to feature a single LGBT impression. While GLAAD says that The History’s Channel’s content may not easily lend itself to diverse storylines, they are urging the cable network to expand into historical-based or period dramas that also include LGBT characters.
NBC fell 9 percent from last years ratings, along with ABC and CBS, who were down 1-2 percent. MTV was down 19 percent from last year.
“GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index has helped reshape the television landscape, inspiring LGBT characters and storylines that move acceptance forward,” Ellis stated. “As representations of LGBT people in the media continue to rise in number, pushing television networks to make those representations more diverse is more crucial than ever. This requires a different set of tools than the NRI provides, and as such GLAAD will shift focus to its annual TV diversity and transgender reports.”
With this year being the final chapter for the Network Responsibility Index, the organization will begin focusing on their “Where We Are On TV Report,” which works to increase the diversity of LGBT images on TV, as well as its film-focused “Studio Responsibility Index” and “Transgender Images on TV” reports.
FOX: 45%, up from 36%
The CW: 45%, up from 33%
ABC: 32%, down from 34%
NBC: 28%, down from 37%
CBS: 27%, down from 28%
ABC Family: 74%, up from 42%
FC: 54%, up from 49%
Showtime: 41%, up from 34%
HBO: 31%, same as previous year
MTV: 30%, down from 49%
USA: 23%, up from 17%
TNT: 19%, up from 9%
TLC: 18%, up from 17%
A&E: 8%, up from 6%
History: 0%, same as previous year