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HBO scored highest among 15 networks for its representation of gay characters

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In its third annual Network Responsibility Index, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that HBO scored highest among 15 networks for its representation of gay characters.

“Overall, we saw positive signs in the inclusion of LGBT characters on television,” said Rashad Robinson, senior director of media programs at GLAAD. “ABC continues to do well, HBO is stepping up in diversity, and we hope that CBS and NBC will be able to better reflect the American scenes on their shows.”

Among the five broadcast and 10 of the highest-rated cable networks, once again none earned the top “excellent” ranking, with five, including NBC and CBS, getting a “failing” grade.

Four networks were rated “good,” led by HBO with 42 percent representation of LGBT characters, a 16 percent increase from last year. Virtually all non-sports original HBO series included LGBT content, with shows such as “True Blood” and “The No. 1 Lades Detective Agency” lauded for featuring “complex and authentic LGBT characters from diverse backgrounds.”

Cable’s Showtime ranked second, with 26 percent of its programming hours featuring gay characters or themes. Series included “The L Word,” “Weeds” and “The United States of Tara,” a new comedy about a family whose teenage son is gay.

ABC got the highest ranking of the five broadcast networks, with 24 percent. It was the second year in a row that ABC led the broadcasters.

Among ABC series, the report cited newlyweds Kevin and Scotty on “Brothers & Sisters,” the engagement of Andrew to Dr. Alex Cominis on “Desperate Housewives” and bisexual Dr. Callie Torres on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The CW logged 20 percent, and the Fox network 11 percent, the report said.

Fox significantly increased its LGBT representation, from 4 percent to 11 percent, and improved its grade from “failing” to “adequate,” mostly because of bisexual characters on “House” and “Bones.” The network’s comedy-drama series “Glee,” which premiered in May, “shows excellent promise” with its gay characters, the study said. But GLAAD also noted that Fox’s tally includes some “problematic LGBT content,” including what it qualifies as a “homophobic critique” on “So You Think You Can Dance” by judge Nigel Lythgow and an “offensive” gay-themed episode of “Family Guy.”

TNT posted the biggest overall rise, from a single hour (1 percent) of content last year to 19 percent, improving its “failing” grade to “adequate,” mostly because of a regular character on “Raising the Bar.”

NBC showed a small increase in LGBT representation (from 6 percent to 8 percent) but still earned a “failing” grade. In addition to a regular character on midseason drama “Southland,” which is returning this fall, the network is adding a lesbian storyline to flagship drama “Heroes” next season.

CBS saw the greatest decline among the broadcast networks, dropping to last place among them with 5 percent LGBT depiction, with the bulk of it, 72 percent, on unscripted series such as “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor.”

“Television shows that weave our stories into the fabric of the series present richer, more diverse representations,” Rashad Robinson said.


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July 27, 2009 at 8:04 pm

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Bruno in Paris

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June 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

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Sean Penn demands more gay sex in Harvey Milk film

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Sean Penn asked for more gay sex scenes to be written into new movie ‘Milk’.

James Franco – who stars alongside Sean in the film, which tells the story of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official – says Sean Penn pushed the gay sex scenes in “Milk” further than he expected. “In the original script I read, there was only one real kissing scene,” Franco tells next month’s Elle. “A month after [director] Gus [Van Sant] asked me to do it, they sent me another script, and on Page 5 there was a full-on love scene. And I was like, ‘Gus, what the heck?’ He says, ‘Well, it was Sean’s idea.’ ”

James recently revealed Sean texted his ex-wife Madonna – who famously kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera – to boast about his first on screen gay kiss.

He said: “After our kiss, Sean texted Madonna and said, ‘I just popped my cherry kissing a guy. I thought of you. I don’t know why.’ “

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December 2, 2008 at 8:16 am

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