Why Would Networks Not Include Gay Characters?

KurtGlee GLAAD this week released its annual assessment of gay inclusion in television.

According to their data, Fox is the most inclusive of all the major networks, thanks in large part to Glee, while HBO wins in the cable realm.

Overall, however, gay representation is down a bit from last year, when ABC was tops in terms of LGBT inclusion.

From ABC News:

GLAAD announced that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters account for 2.9 percent of regular characters in primetime scripted broadcast TV for the 2011-12 season. That's down from 3.9 percent in 2010.

The percentage of LGBT characters on primetime scripted cable TV also dipped from last year, according to GLAAD.

Still, representatives for the organization said there's much to celebrate: From "Modern Family" to "True Blood" to "Glee," many of the shows acclaimed by both critics and audiences are also invested in developing LGBT characters.

I was actually thinking about this earlier this week, and wondered why more networks don't include queer characters in their line up.

Aside from the obvious reasons for creating LGBT characters — positive portrayal in an era in which LGBT people are becoming more mainstream — it seems to me that network and cable executives would want to stack their shows with gay characters because gays often have tons of disposable income.

Those dollars could then be spent on the advertisers who, if they were smart, specifically bought time on shows with gay characters, thereby increasing the networks' bottom line.

It's just common sense — and cents — to include LGBT characters on television, and anyone who disagrees is either a bigot or incredibly dense.

Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:37am ETC by Andrew Belonsky
in GLAAD, News, television