Study finds rise in gay characters on network TV

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm •  Published: October 5, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — The number of gay and bisexual characters on scripted broadcast network TV is at its highest-ever level in the season ahead, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The total on cable television is also going up.

The 17th annual "Where We Are on TV" report, released Friday, found that 4.4 percent of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series during the 2012-13 season will portray lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters. That is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, which saw a dip in what had been a growing annual trend.

The study reviewed 97 scripted TV programs scheduled to air in the upcoming season on the broadcast networks, counting a total of 701 series regular characters. The study found that 31 of them are LGBT characters.

ABC has the highest amount, with 10 out of 194, or 5.2 percent, of their regular characters identified as LGBT.

After leading last year, Fox ranks second with six LGBT characters out of 118 total series regulars, or 5.1 percent.

CBS was saluted as much improved, with four out of 142 LGBT series regulars, or 2.8 percent, up from 0.7 percent last year. Among CBS's new fall series is "Partners," a comedy about two childhood friends and business partners, one of whom is gay and in a relationship. The network's lineup represents "an authentic and conscious effort by CBS to improve its diversity," the study said.

Regular gay and lesbian characters on what the study termed "mainstream" cable television has also risen this season to 35, up from 29 last season.

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