By James Tillman
July 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – ABC Family, which was founded in 1977 as an extension of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network, has earned a “good” rating from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for its “LGBT-inclusive” programming, which took up 37% of its original prime time programming over the 2009-2010 season.
The only network with a higher percentage of “LGBT-inclusive” programming was MTV, which also became the first TV network to win an “excellent” rating from GLAAD for its portrayal of homosexuals in shows such as “The Real World” and “America's Best Dance Crew.”
Among positive elements on MTV that GLAAD listed were broadcasts such as “True Life: I'm Changing My Sex.”
Out of 207.5 hours of original primetime programming on MTV, 87 hours, or 42%, included homosexual elements.
MTV's rating may be found in GLAAD's “Network Responsibility Index,” which describes itself as an “evaluation of the quantity and quality of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people on television.”
“As diverse LGBT images in the media become more prevalent,” the report says, “the general public is made aware to the truth about the LGBT community: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are parents and teachers, law enforcement and soldiers, high school students and loving elderly couples.”
The report cites a GLAAD-sponsored survey in which 19% of people surveyed said that their feelings towards homosexuals had become more favorable over the past 5 years, of which 34% said “seeing gay or lesbian characters on television” contributed to the change of mind.
ABC Family was acquired from Fox by Disney in 2001; in 2006 it started operating beneath the slogan “ABC Family: A New Kind of Family.” It has previously been criticized for offering excessively risqué shows for a theoretically family-oriented network.
GLAAD researched broadcast networks in addition to cable networks; of broadcast networks researched, The CW possessed the highest percentage of “LGBT-inclusive” hours, with 198.5 out of 570, or 35%.
Fox had second place of broadcast networks, with 30% of Fox's original primetime programming listed as “LGBT-inclusive,” although GLAAD also chided Fox for “several offensive LGBT representations” in its Sunday night comedy line-up.
GLAAD's ranking of cable networks by percentage of LGBT-inclusive hours of original programing:
1. MTV 42%
2. ABC Family 37%
3. TNT 34%
4. Showtime 32%
5. Lifetime 31%
6. FX 27%
7. HBO 26%
8. USA 4%
9. A&E 3%
10. TBS 2%s
GLAAD's ranking of broadcast networks by percentage of LGBT-inclusive hours of original programming:
1. The CW 35%
2. Fox 30%
3. ABC 26%
4. NBC 13%
5. CBS 7%