Gay and lesbian characters on primetime television are on the decline, according to the latest report by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
In the 2007-2008 television season, there will be seven regular LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) characters appearing on broadcast series. That's 1.1 percent of all series regular characters in the TV season, down from 1.3 percent in 2006 and 1.4 percent in 2005, GLAAD's study found.
Six of the seven LGBT characters are on ABC while none are appearing on CBS, FOX or The CW this season. NBC's "The Office" is featuring the seventh.
The ABC shows with regular LGBT representations include "Brothers & Sisters," "Desperate Housewives," "Ugly Betty," and the new midseason series "Cashmere Mafia."
"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," said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano in a statement.
There will be an additional 13 semi-regular recurring characters appearing on network TV this season, up from last year's five.
The increase "suggests that producers and writers are showing a guarded interest in being inclusive without making the characters lead or supporting," said GLAAD in a release.
Meanwhile, gay and lesbian characters are becoming more prominent on cable shows. This season, a total of 40 series regulars in 21 shows are scheduled to air on mainstream cable networks, which is 15 more characters than last year.
Giuliano said "diversity" on TV is "good for business."
"One need only look at the growing viewership of cable networks to see how inclusive programming can attract a wider audience," he said in a statement.
Christians have expressed concern over the rise in homosexual content on network TV and mainstream media trying to normalize the LGBT lifestyle. According to an earlier GLAAD report, 15 percent of ABC's primetime programming hours were inclusive of LGBT representations in the past year and youth-oriented The CW was not far behind with 12 percent of its programming hours being LGBT inclusive. In comparison, FOX – the most watched network among young adult viewers – has kept gay and lesbian representation over the past year at a minimum and shows no increase in LGBT content this upcoming TV season.
The latest findings are part of GLAAD's 12th annual "Where We Are on TV" report which also looked at the representation of minorities, men and women on the broadcast networks. The CW, although without any LGBT characters, ranked first in overall diversity with ethnic minorities making up 32 percent of its series characters.