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GLAAD Report: Gay characters on network TV still on the rise

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The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters on broadcast TV is again on the rise, according to a new report from The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). The group’s 14th annual TV study found that 18 LGBT characters will account for 3% of primetime scripted series regulars in the 2009-2010 broadcast TV season. That’s up from 1.3% in 2006, 1.1% in 2007 and 2.6% in 2008.

New LGBT characters include bisexual Ella on Melrose Place, Southland’s gay police officer John Cooper, Modern Family’s gay couple Mitchell and Cameron, and coming-out high schooler Kurt on Glee.

ABC continues to lead the networks with eight LGBT characters, or 5% of its 168 total series regulars. Fox, which had no regular LGBT characters two years ago, now has 4 characters (4%). NBC has 3 characters (3%), The CW has two (3%), but CBS had no LGBT characters out of its 132 regulars.

The LGBT characters on scripted cable series declined, from 40 in 2007 to 32 in 2008 to 25 this year (that doesn’t include the 27 LGBT regulars on niche cable channels here! and Logo).

“Our analysis also shows where there’s still work to be done. This past year, we’ve seen real progress from many networks toward making their scripted programming more LGBT inclusive,” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a statement. “At the same time, we continue to advocate that other networks including CBS follow suit and that networks across the board better reflect the diversity of the LGBT community.”

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