TV Featuring Fewer Characters With Disabilities
For the first time in two years, the number of characters with disabilities on prime-time television is on the decline, a new report finds.
There are just eight regularly appearing characters with disabilities expected this year on scripted prime-time programs on ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC, representing 0.9 percent of all characters.
Last season, by comparison, there were 11 such characters with disabilities.
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The figures come from an annual report out this week from GLAAD, a media advocacy organization for the gay and lesbian community. The analysis offers an assessment of minority representation on television during the 2015-2016 season, including a look at disabilities.
FOX leads the networks with four characters with disabilities on its schedule, while ABC is expected to have two and there are one each at CBS and The CW. NBC will have none, the report found.
On cable, ABC Family will feature two characters with disabilities and there is one on Showtime. The streaming service, Hulu, also claims a single character with a disability.
For the report, characters were considered to have a disability if they would be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Portrayals of disabilities are slated to appear on Fox in “Empire,” “Rosewood” and “Scream Queens” in addition to ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Marvel’s Agent Carter” as well as CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans” and “The 100” on The CW.
Cable shows include “Switched at Birth” and “Pretty Little Liars” on ABC Family and “Shameless” on Showtime. Hulu will feature a character with a disability on the Australian drama “Neighbours,” the report said.