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GLAAD notes changing media landscape for LGBTs

GLAAD released its 9th and final edition of the Network Responsibility Index (NRI). The NRI looks back on the previous year in programming and rates networks on LGBT-inclusive content that aired between June 2014 and May 2015.

LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD released its 9th and final edition of the Network Responsibility Index (NRI). The report maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBT representation on television.

The NRI looks back on the previous year in programming and rates networks on LGBT-inclusive content that aired between June 2014 and May 2015. The grades of “Excellent,” “Good,” “Adequate,” or “Failing” are awarded based on the quality and relative quantity of LGBT representations in each network’s original programming.

The NRI examined original primetime programming on the five broadcast networks and 10 cable networks from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015.

  • ABC Family and FOX earned a grade of excellent. This is third excellent grade for ABC Family and a first for FOX, which received a failing grade in the inaugural NRI in 2006.
  • Good: ABC, CW, FX, HBO, MTV, Showtime
  • Adequate: CBS, NBC, TLC, TNT, USA
  • Failing: A&E, History

“The ninth edition of the NRI marks the first time in the report’s history that a major broadcast network – FOX – received an ‘Excellent’ as a grade,” said GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis. “This milestone highlights real change across the media landscape – especially considering that the network received a ‘Failing’ grade in the NRI‘s first two editions.”

GLAAD also announced that this is the final edition of its NRI, and the organization will now turn its focus to increasing the diversity of LGBT images on TV through its annual Where We Are On TV Report.

“GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index has helped reshape the television landscape, inspiring LGBT characters and storylines that move acceptance forward,” said Ellis. “As representations of LGBT people in the media continue to rise in number, pushing television networks to make those representations more diverse is more crucial than ever. This requires a different set of tools than the NRI provides, and as such GLAAD will shift focus to its annual TV diversity and transgender reports.”

Additional notable NRI findings include:

  • FOX featured the highest percentage of LGBT-inclusive original programming hours, coming in at 45.4%, which is also the highest percentage GLAAD has tracked on a broadcast network since theNRI’s inception. Additionally, the network also had the second-most racially diverse representations on broadcast, with 36% of its LGBT impressions made by people of color.
  • The CW led in racial diversity of its LGBT characters, with 38% of impressions being made by people of color and had the second-highest percentage of inclusive programming hours, with 44.8% of its original programming hours including LGBT people. The CW also had the highest percentage of LGBT impressions; however, GLAAD deemed many of the impressions to be “minor” rather than “major.”
  •  ABC produced the highest volume of LGBT-inclusive content, with 258.5 hours or 32% of its original programming. Only 17% of the network’s LGBT impressions were made by people of color, the lowest of any broadcast network.
  • ABC Family posted the highest-ever percentage of LGBT-inclusive programming for any network tracked in the NRI previously. Not only did 74% of its original programming include LGBT impressions, but 79% of those were lesbian characters, 49% were people of color, and the network also featured a transgender character played by a transgender actor.

In the years ahead, GLAAD will continue its Where We Are on TV, Studio Responsibility Index, and Transgender Images on TV reports. GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report analyzes the diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks, whereas the Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBT people in films released by seven major motion picture studios. GLAAD’s Transgender Images on TV report, which will be released in November, catalogs and assesses the quantity and quality of transgender images on television. GLAAD uses the data from these reports to create a clearer picture of the stories and portrayals being presented by the media, and to encourage networks and studios alike to include and increase diverse LGBT representations that accelerate acceptance.


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