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Gay characters rise on cable TV

September 25, 2007

The number of gay characters depicted on TV is falling on network series but rising on cable, a study by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found.

In the 2007-08 TV season, broadcast series will feature seven regularly seen characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, down from nine characters in 2006 and 10 the season before, GLAAD said Monday. Most are on one network -- ABC.

By comparison, cable shows will feature 40 gay characters as series regulars, GLAAD said.

"While we acknowledge there have been improvements made in how we are seen on the broadcast networks, most notably on ABC, our declining representation clearly indicates a failure to inclusively reflect the audience watching television," GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said.

ABC, Fox and CW declined requests for comment, while NBC and CBS did not immediately respond.

The "real advances" in gay depiction on TV are on cable channels, GLAAD said. The 40 regular characters depicted on 21 scripted shows on channels including HBO, Showtime and FX represent 15 more characters than last year, the study found.

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