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    Where We Are on TV 2023-2024

    Summary of Cable Findings

    Summary of Cable Findings Natasia Demetriou as Nadja Matt Berry as Lazlo Kayvan Novak as Nandor Mark Proksch as Colin Harvey Guillen as Guillermo and Kristen Schaal as The Guide What We Do in the Shadows
    Natasia Demetriou as Nadja, Matt Berry as Lazlo, Kayvan Novak as Nandor, Mark Proksch as Colin, Harvey Guillen as Guillermo, and Kristen Schaal as The Guide - What We Do in the Shadows
    • For the 2023-24 season on primetime scripted cable, GLAAD counted 77 LGBTQ characters across cable TV. This is a decrease of 62 characters (45 percent) from last year’s 139. This number is made up of 49 series regular characters and 28 recurring characters.
    • These 77 LGBTQ characters are made up of 47 men (61 percent of all LGBTQ characters), 27 women (35 percent), and three nonbinary characters (four percent). This is a stark difference from last year, when 53 percent of cable characters were women, 41 percent were men, and seven percent were nonbinary.
    • Gay men make up almost half of the LGBTQ characters on cable. Of the 77 LGBTQ characters, 35 (46 percent) are gay men. This is a decrease of 11 characters, but an increase of 13 percentage points year over year.
    • Lesbian representation decreased for the second year in a row. Now, only 19 of the LGBTQ characters on cable (25 percent) are lesbians. This is a decrease of 21 characters and four percentage points.
    • Bisexual+ representation also saw a decrease year over year. Of the 77 LGBTQ characters on cable, 20 (26 percent) are bisexual+, a decrease of 19 characters and two percentage points. Of the bi+, characters, 12 are men, six are women, and two are nonbinary.
    • There are only two transgender characters counted on primetime scripted cable, three percent of all LGBTQ characters. This is a decrease of seven characters and four percentage points. One is a straight trans woman, and one is nonbinary and bisexual+.
    • There were zero asexual characters counted on cable, after two in the previous study.
    • Of the 77 LGBTQ characters counted on cable, 37 (48 percent) are characters of color. This is a decrease of two percentage points and 32 characters.
    • Thirty-eight of the 77 LGBTQ characters (49 percent) will not be returning due to series endings, cancellations, or miniseries/anthology format.

    The two most inclusive networks this season are FX and Showtime, which both count 15 LGBTQ characters on their networks. FX had 15 characters last year as well, one of the few cable networks whose numbers did not decrease. Seven of FX’s characters appear in the GLAAD Media Award-winning comedy What We Do in the Shadows, which features a house of bisexual vampires. There are significant gay characters on miniseries Feud: Capote vs. The Swans and Justified: City Primeval, as well as LGBTQ roles in Breeders, and American Horror Story: Delicate. Given that the upcoming sixth season of What We Do in the Shadows will be its final one, that Feud, Primeval, and AHS are all miniseries or anthologies, and Breeders has been canceled, the future of this network is precarious. FX has consistently been a leader in LGBTQ content; GLAAD hopes to see more scripted LGBTQ excellence in stories introduced on FX in the coming years, or else the historically queer-inclusive network will leave their LGBTQ fan base behind.

    Showtime, which counted 24 characters last year, also counts 15 LGBTQ characters. Nine of these characters appear on the GLAAD Media Award-winning miniseries Fellow Travelers, which follows a decades-long love story of two men, from McCarthyism to the AIDS crisis, and features a rich queer community. Five other characters appear on long running drama The Chi, which includes Fatima, one of the few trans characters counted on cable, as well as lesbian couple Nina and Dre. The last character is Taylor Mason for the final season of Billions, one of the first nonbinary characters ever counted in this report. While over half of Showtime’s characters will not be returning due to Fellow Travelers being a limited series, it is worth noting that hit drama Yellowjackets, which features many queer characters in its ensemble, is not counted in this report as it will return after the end of this current research period. 

    Starz features 11 LGBTQ characters, one less than last year. This includes lead lesbian character Jackie in the final season of detective drama Hightown, both the titular mother and son in upcoming historical miniseries Mary & George, and three of the main ensemble characters of Minx, a 70s set comedy that had been previously canceled on Max, only for Starz to revive it for a second and final season. There are also multiple supporting characters in the popular Power franchise on Starz. Eight of these 11 characters will not return next year.

    These three networks account for 53 percent (41 out of 77) of the characters across all of cable. Other networks must step up to fill this void and include ensembles with LGBTQ characters. Two networks, Freeform and HBO, were in the top three last season, with HBO counting 26 characters and Freeform counting 16. This year, HBO counts only five characters, while Freeform counts eight.

    On HBO, much of this decrease can be attributed to series with LGBTQ characters that will not return in this research period, such as flagship drama The Last of Us, teen drama Euphoria, and comedy Somebody Somewhere, all of which have been renewed but will not return in this research period. Current HBO programming includes gay character Oscar on period drama The Gilded Age, the lead’s lesbian stepdaughter on True Detective: Night Country, and the recently revealed romance between characters Kevin and Keefe on comedy The Righteous Gemstones.

    Though Freeform counts more characters than HBO, the situation is much more dire. This is the first time in a decade that Freeform has not been one of the three most inclusive networks on cable. Furthermore, not a single one of these characters will return next year. The majority of LGBTQ characters appear on the final season of long running drama Good Trouble, which has boasted a strong LGBTQ ensemble from its first episode and significant bisexual, lesbian, and trans characters over the course of its run. The other characters appear on grown-ish and Praise Petey, both of which have also come to an end. This is the end of an LGBTQ-inclusive era for Freeform, which has been consistent in its queer content since it was named ABC Family. As Freeform shifts away from scripted content, it is a huge loss for LGBTQ content aimed at young people, which has been a defining part of the last decade of culture.

    Other highlights from cable include the return of AMC’s hit series Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, that continues to heighten the queerness of the source material. Syfy continues to air Chucky, which centers a gay couple fighting the murderous title doll, and comedy Reginald the Vampire, which includes multiple pansexual supporting characters. Overall, science fiction and fantasy shows had a strong showing on cable TV, a bright spot in a year with so many losses.

    This year, 48 percent of the LGBTQ characters on scripted cable were characters of color, a two percent decrease from the previous year. As more series are ordered and return after the strike, this needs to be a priority, as does increasing trans representation up from a measly three characters.

    Sexual Orientations of LGBTQ Characters on Cable in 2023-2024

    No Data Found

    Total LGBTQ Characters on Cable Series: 77

    • Gay: 35 (46%)
    • Lesbian: 19 (25%)
    • Bisexual+: 20 (26%)
    • Queer: 1 (1%)
    • Straight: 1 (1%)
    • Asexual: 0 (0%)
    • Sexual Orientation Undetermined: 1 (1%)

    Gender Identity of Trans Characters on Cable

    Trans men

    Trans woman

    Trans nonbinary




    Trans man


    Trans woman


    Trans nonbinary



    With a near 50 percent decrease from last year’s total, the fact that almost half of the 77 characters in this report will not return next year signals an alarmingly rapid drop in LGBTQ inclusion on cable. As nearly every conglomerate has a foot in both cable and streaming, cable scripted programming seems to be quickly falling by the wayside.

    Despite narratives to the contrary, cable has the unique power to be appointment television; the high ratings for HBO’s True Detective: Night Country is one indicator of this, as more people tuned in for this iteration than the anthology’s debut season in 2014. There is an audience for cable, especially weekly programs which generate buzz that lasts far longer than just a week.

    GLAAD encourages these companies to invest in scripted cable programming, and to build out more shows with LGBTQ ensembles in the vein of Pose, The L Word, and Looking. With The L Word: Generation Q’s cancellation last year and Good Trouble’s final season airing this year, there is space in the cable market for LGBTQ focused shows.

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