GLAAD: Cable Bests Broadcast in Diversity

NEW YORK The broadcast networks are not doing enough to fairly represent the diversity of the viewing audience, according to the 10th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation study. Cable television, however, “continues to traverse boundaries by exploring lives, families and careers in multi-dimensional ways,” the survey said.

The GLADD study counted “only 16 series regular and recurring gay, lesbian and bisexual roles scheduled to appear on 14 different scripted programs out of 110 on the broadcast networks.”

The study pointed out that while that number is up from 11 characters last season, “the lack of representation is still cause for concern.” The study also said that out of 710 series regulars that would appear on broadcast network primetime series this season, less than 2 percent will be gay, lesbian or bisexual.

“If you are looking at network television to see a good cross section of our community, you’re not going to find it,” said GLADD entertainment media director Damon Romine. “What you will find is primarily gay white males. This is a shocking misrepresentation of reality and of the audience watching these programs.”

Cable television got better marks from GLADD, which said 25 gay, lesbian or bisexual characters would appear on cable shows this season. But GLADD is also unhappy with the departures of cable series Queer as Folk and Six Feet Under, which “has left a tremendous void for gay and lesbian characters in leading roles.”

Even so, Romine said, “There continues to be a big disconnect between cable and the broadcast networks. Successful and popular cable programs seamlessly weave our stories and relationships into the fabric of shows that have a broad and mainstream audience, reflecting how our lives intersect with the larger culture. This holistic approach to character development leads to richer, more diverse representations.”