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Report shows record number of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV shows in 2018-19

NBC Universal Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker, actress Debra Messing and Eric McCormack visit the New York Stock Exchange in May 2018. A new report reveals 8.8 percent of all regular characters on broadcast television shows this season are LGBTQ, up from last season's record high of 6.4 percent. (Brad Barket/Getty Images)

The number of LGBTQ characters featured in broadcast TV shows during the 2018-19 season have hit record numbers, according to a new report.

"[A] record-high percentage of LGBTQ regular characters on broadcast TV, with more LGBTQ people of color than white LGBTQ people for the first time among regular and recurring LGBTQ characters," GLAAD announced Thursday in a release. GLAAD is a media advocacy organization that has monitored the presence of LGBTQ characters on television.

The group's annual "Where We Are on TV" report showed that 8.8 percent of all regular characters on broadcast television shows this season are LGBTQ, up from last season's record high of 6.4 percent.

“With anti-LGBTQ policies being debated here and abroad, the stories and characters on television are more critical than ever before to build understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, said in a release, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Not only do stories that explore the rich lives and identities of LGBTQ people move the needle forward culturally, but they pay off in ratings — shows like 'Will & Grace,' 'Supergirl,' 'Empire,' and 'How To Get Away with Murder' all attract millions of viewers weekly and demonstrate that audiences are hungry for new stories and perspectives.”

The report also noted that for the first time that 50 percent of the LGBTQ roles on broadcast TV are played by people of color.

How many broadcast TV characters are LGBTQ?

The report showed that of the 857 regular characters who appear on scripted primetime shows, 75 were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or queer.

"This is the highest percentage GLAAD has found in the fourteen years this report has counted all broadcast series regulars," according to the release.

Another 38 had recurring LGBTQ roles.

What about other platforms?

LGBTQ characters played on scripted primetime cable shows increased to 120, along with 88 recurring characters for a total of 208.

In original scripted series on Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, there were 75 regular LGBTQ characters and 37 recurring ones. Last year, there were LGBTQ 65 characters overall.

What else?

The report named the CW network for having the best record for LGBTQ inclusion for the 2018-19 season.

One last thing…
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