The Network Responsibility Index rated LGBT content on 15 networks during the 2014-2015 TV season that wrapped earlier this year.

For broadcast, GLAAD researched original primetime programming hours on ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX and NBC from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. Total primetime programming hours researched: 2,891.5 hours. Primetime begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific (7:00 Central and Mountain) and ends at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific (10:00 Central and Mountain), Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, primetime begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific (6:00 Central and Mountain). FOX and The CW do not air network programming during the last hour of primetime, and The CW does not air programming on weekends. GLAAD does not track primetime broadcast hours programmed by local affiliate stations – only hours of national broadcast.

The 10 cable networks examined for the 2014 – 2015 NRI were ABC Family, A&E, FX, HBO, History, MTV, Showtime, TLC, TNT and USA. Networks were chosen based on a combination of Nielsen Media Research rankings, cultural and media recognition factors, and the diversity and breadth of For its ninth annual NRI report, GLAAD divided analysis into two sections: broadcast networks and cable networks.

Only hours of original primetime programming were counted for both broadcast and cable. Repeat episodes, acquired (syndicated) series and films, as well as live sporting events, were not counted for any network, keeping the focus exclusively on network-generated original programming. Methodology 2,299.5 cable programming hours researched 2015 EXCELLENT RATING 2015 FAILING RATING 2015 GOOD RATING 2015 ADEQUATE RATING Based on the overall quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBT representation, a grade is assigned to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing. 2,891.5 broadcast programming hours researched GLAAD analysts noted: whether the LGBT depiction had a major or minor presence the sexual orientation or gender identity of the depiction the race or ethnicity of the depiction any significant discussion of LGBT lives original programming. For the purposes of this study, news, sports, and children’s networks are not counted. The original primetime programs on these 10 networks were examined from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. Total programming hours: 2,299.5 hours.

All programming content, on both broadcast and cable networks, was divided into four categories: drama series, comedy series, unscripted programming (i.e. reality and game shows), and newsmagazines/ special event programming. Live sporting events were not counted as part of GLAAD’s analysis. The categorization of programming hours was implemented so that analysts could understand where a network’s strengths and weaknesses lie when it came to portraying LGBT people.

Each program was reviewed for onscreen inclusion of LGBT representations or content. GLAAD analysts noted whether the LGBT depictions had a minor or major presence in the story, as well as the orientation, gender identity and the race/ethnicity of those depicted. Any significant discussion of issues pertaining to LGBT lives, whether in a scripted or newsmagazine setting, was also counted, though no characters could be counted and no race/ethnicity could be assigned.

For the purpose of this report, each representation of an LGBT person, or significant discussion of an LGBT issue, during the course of an hour counts as one ‘impression.’ If one LGBT character appeared on 12 episodes, for example, this character made 12 impressions.

Based on the overall quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT representation, a grade was assigned to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing. Note: Prior to 2014, GLAAD tracked both first-run and repeat episodes aired on broadcast networks during primetime. In 2014, the report began focusing only on first-run primetime programming hours for broadcast networks to bring them in line with how the NRI has always tracked primetime programming for cable networks.

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The grades of Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing were awarded based on the quality, diversity, and relative quantity of LGBT representations in each network’s original programming. FOX is the first broadcast network to receive an “Excellent” grade.

  • Excellent: ABC Family and FOX
  • Good: ABC, CW, FX, HBO, MTV, Showtime
  • Adequate: CBS, NBC, TLC, TNT, USA
  • Failing: A&E, History