7/15/08

ABC, FX Gets Two Thumbs Up from GLAAD

Including gay characters on your TV show is good, unless it's two lesbians who fall in love with a straight man, as they do in a storyline on New Amsterdam. FOX learned that the hard way when they received a failing grade from GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) on their second annual GLAAD Network Responsibility Index. The index measures the "quantity, quality and diversity of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on television."

Even though GLAAD gave FOX a failing grade, the network's cable counterpart, FX, received top honors for cable channels. The advocacy group praised them for including the most original programming that featured members LGBT community. Special notice was given to Nip/Tuck, which had a gay, lesbian, or bisexual character in every episode. Rescue Me's commitment ceremony storyline was also viewed favorably by the group.

It was ABC, however, that received the highest praise for featuring a gay wedding on the season finale of Brothers & Sisters. The marriage between Kevin and Scotty marks the first wedding between gay or lesbian series regulars on a primetime network scripted program. ABC has had other historic moments, including introducing a gay character to "Soap" in 1977, having a gay teen in "My So-Called Life" and Ellen DeGeneres coming out on "Ellen" as well as in real life.

ABC was also recognized for its inclusion of LGBT characters on its other primetime shows, such as Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. ABC received the highest score of all of the nets on last year's index as well.

In addition to Fox, NBC received a failing grade for its lack of inclusion. The exit of lesbian character Dr. Kerry Weaver from ER contributed to GLAAD's assessment. GLAAD is urging both networks to include more LGBT characters in their programs and to portray them in a more positive light.

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