- Main News
By Nathan James
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has released its sixth annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI), ranking the major broadcast and cable networks’ performance in their inclusion and depiction of the LGBT community in their programming.
As a media watchdog group, GLAAD has monitored and worked with television, film, digital and print media for nearly a quarter-century, to encourage positive, affirming images of gays and lesbians, while combating negative or hateful stereotypes.
According to a GLAAD press release, the NRI is “a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people on television”. The five major broadcast networks, as well as 10 cable stations, were evaluated.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick underscored the need for tools like the NRI, saying “Americans expect to see their off-screen worlds represented onscreen and today more than ever that includes LGBT people and families.”
According to the NRI’s findings, The CW led the group of networks, with 29% of its programming being LGBT-inclusive, and also had the most “racial diversity”. ABC cane in second, FOX third, and NBC fell to fourth place in spite of a slight increase in LGBT-inclusive airtime. CBS was given a “failing” grade in the NRI, after having reduced its LGBT-inclusive percentage two points, to 8%.
Among cable channels, Showtime, ABC Family, and HBO all received high marks for their depictions of LGBTs in original programming. MTV, FX, TLC, and USA were all rated in the middle, with the NRI finding them “Adequate”. The History Channel failed the survey, as did TBS, for the fourth consecutive year.
According to GLAAD, transgendered persons are still conspicuous by their absence on American television, appearing on broadcast TV just 0.01% of the time, and on cable 0.005% of programming hours. Graddick pointed out that trans singer Chaz Bono’s appearance on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars was “a groundbreaking step in transgender representation on television this year. Transgender persons deserve respect and acceptance.”
GLAAD will follow up the NRI survey with its 17th annual Where We Are On TV report later this fall. To read the full NRI survey, visit www.glaad.org/nri.