TV Season Set For Record High Disability Representation
There are more characters with disabilities set to appear on prime-time television this season than ever before, according to a new report, though representation still falls far short of mirroring reality.
Among the 879 regular characters expected on broadcast programming during the 2019-2020 season, 3.1 percent — or 27 characters — have disabilities.
The numbers come from an analysis released this month from GLAAD, a media advocacy organization for the gay and lesbian community.
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The annual report looks at representation of minority groups — including people with disabilities — on television. It factors characters expected to appear on scripted prime-time shows broadcast on ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX and NBC.
The percentage of characters with disabilities is the highest found in the decade that GLAAD has tracked disability representation on television and it’s a full percentage point above the 2.1 percent recorded last year.
NBC plans to have the most series regulars with disabilities at 13 characters, more than double last year, the analysis found. ABC will showcase five characters with disabilities while CBS, FOX and The CW are expected to have three each.
Characters with disabilities include a surgeon with autism on “The Good Doctor” and a man with Down syndrome on the new drama “Stumptown,” both on ABC.