The CW Leads LGBTQ Representation on Broadcast Networks, GLAAD Reports

Lawrence Kim
November 8, 2019

GLAAD has released its "Where We Are On TV" report, which breaks down the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and assesses the number of LGBTQ characters on cable networks and streaming platforms. The data stems from a review of the 879 series regulars from 111 primetime shows across the broadcast networks - ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC. Last year, that number was 75. As of this season, 52% of the 120 LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on broadcast networks are people of color, and 48% of the 215 LGBTQ characters on cable TV are people of color, both marking an increase of two percentage points from the prior-year figures.

The CW once again earned the top spot as the most LGBTQ-inclusive broadcast network, with 15.4% of series regulars identifying as LGBTQ, while Showtime is the most inclusive on cable.

The caveat is that 29 of the counted series regular roles won't be returning next year. It is also the only platform that has hit the goal of having at least half of LGBTQ characters be characters of color.

The overall number of LGBT characters on TV could well increase over the next year with shows such as The L Word reboot, Lena Waithe's sitcom Twenties and comedy Work in Progress starring gay comic Abby McEnany still to premiere.

Billy Porter poses backstage with his Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for "Pose". Other standouts series including Pop TV's Schitt's Creek, Starz's Vida, and HBO's Euphoria. And between Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, the three platforms' programming have 109 regular LGBTQ characters on scripted originals, 34 more than last season, and 44 recurring LGBTQ characters, an increase of seven from the prior year.

GLAAD noted that increasing representation is crucial in fuelling broader acceptance in the face of divisive rhetoric. Of all series regulars on broadcast scripted television, 47 percent are people of color - up 3 percent from the previous report to reach a new all-time high.

For Netflix, which ranks the highest amongst the streamers for this representation, GLAAD made note of Tales of the City, BoJack Horseman, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Twelve Forever, The Politician, Sex Education, Orange is the New Black, Dear White People, and Designated Survivor. Zero trans characters were featured on an Amazon or Hulu original program. There was also a significant increase in racial diversity of LGBTQ characters on broadcast and cable - but there was a decrease in streaming.

Last year, the advocacy group, which monitors representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in the media, challenged the television industry to reach 10 per cent inclusion for LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV by 2020.

LGBTQ+ representation on television still isn't flawless, and we're still not where we need to be when it comes to seeing our narratives portrayed completely and authentically on screen, but as the years go by, TV just keeps getting more and more queer-inclusive, and that's always a victory worth celebrating! "Shows like "Pose, ' 'Schitt's Creek, ' 'Batwoman, ' and 'Billions" demonstrate that not only are LGBTQ stories and characters on TV becoming more diverse, but that viewers everywhere continue to respond with extreme positivity".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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