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Fewer Gay Characters On Broadcast TV, But They're Thriving On Cable...

GLAAD's annual report on gay characters is out (pun intended), and the news is mixed: There are fewer gay regulars featured on broadcast TV (a total of seven, most of them on ABC) than last year. And only one on a new show (ABC's Cashmere Mafia, coming midseason). Cable, meanwhile, features 40 gay characters as series regulars (many on Showtime's The L Word, not surprisingly, but also in less-expected places, such as The N's South of Nowhere).

“In the last year, we've seen a tremendous amount of visibility on the big screen, reaching a large audience anxious to see our stories,” GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said. “The networks, though, are not tapping into this audience and are failing to represent the reality and the diversity of their viewers and the world around them.”

These figures apparently only include characters who are out, so the numbers (which add up to 1.1% of broadcast TV characters) may turn out to be a little low. NBC's Law & Order, for example, had a lesbian prosecutor from 2001-2005, but the audience didn't know she was gay until she made an out-of-left-field reference to her sexual orientation just before departing the show.

Original Blog Post

Comments (1)

Evan:

It might be interesting if they would note the predicted proportion of cable TV consumers. If I can remember correctly, cable TV is much more dominant than the 80's and is pretty much standard.

-This kinda takes an editorial tangent-

Remember Fox always has to be "fair and balanced." So, they divided into "two separate networks." One filled with lecherous filth and the other filled with lecherous filth wholesome defenses of conservative family values.

The "two networks" are owned by Rupert Murdoch along with MySpace and other more archaic media.

Personally, being a very outspoken social libertarian, I think the whole lot of "gay politics" is complete BS. Most of the hype and fashion and "fight for my rights" is a cheap marketing ploy.

Maybe I'm just from a radical, wrong-side-of-the-tracks circle of friends, but somehow, I still don't trust the "you're fired cause you're gay" corporate world. I doubt if a GLBTQAI person were to appear on TV, that it would be because those cutthroat media CEO's feel a calling to "break the silence."

To me, this just makes more silence. The bottom line is still to sell and being that gays are sometimes lionized in certain segments of American society, the hype, glitz, and glamor of "gay culture" is a great pitch to use.

Burried beneath the bright, joyful veneer of "gay culture," I have seen people caught in the underground (ie: prostitution, bathroom culture, frathouse culture, etc.) brooding at the wildly successful "gays" that seem to speak for every queer person yet don't represent even a fragment.

The sad irony of it is: the out-and-proud flamers are more successful than the average people who are afraid to be honest because they would get lumped with such people.

Honestly, I think the vast number of gay characters on cable TV is run with marketing interests. With most TV sets running cable, that's the most effective way to pitch the market what "being gay really is."

I've seen a lot of gay people. There are a lot more gay people than the ones that go to dance clubs and go out to flaunt their sexual orientation in public.

-Okay, I'm done-

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