Us Networks 'Neglecting Diversity'by Contributor | 24 September 2007
Representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) people in US primetime drama continues to fall, a survey claims.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad), publishing its 12th annual study of diversity on American TV screens, found that of 650 characters featured in primetime scripted dramas only 1.1 per cent fitted the LGBT category.
Six of the seven LGBT characters were on the ABC network, with no lead or supporting LGBT characters appearing on CBS, Fox or the CW.
However the number of semi-regular recurring characters of LGBT persuasion rose from five last year to 13 this year and in cable programming the number shot up from 25 to 40. Glaad said this showed that "producers and writers are showing a guarded interest in being inclusive without making the characters lead or supporting".
When it came to the balance of racial characters the figures also showed a moderate trend away from diversity. The number of white characters was up two per cent to 77 per cent while Latinos fell from seven to six per cent. African-Americans made up 12 per cent of all characters.
"While we acknowledge there have been improvements made in how we are seen on the broadcast networks, most notably on ABC, our declining representation clearly indicates a failure to inclusively reflect the audience watching television," Glaad president Neil Giuliano said.
"Striving toward diversity isn't merely the responsible road to take for broadcasters, but as many of television's highest-rated programs demonstrate, it's also good for business. One need only look at the growing viewership of cable networks to see how inclusive programming can attract a wider audience."