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GAY CHARACTERS DWINDLING ON U.S. NETWORKS, STUDY SAYS

The number of gay characters depicted on American TV is falling on U.S. network series but rising on cable, a study by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found.

In the 2007-08 TV season, broadcast series will feature seven regularly seen characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, down from nine characters in 2006 and 10 the season before, GLAAD said. Most are on one network - ABC.

The new figure represents 1.1 per cent of all regular characters on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW, compared with 1.3 per cent in 2006, according to the study released yesterday. A total of 87 comedies and dramas with 650 characters were analyzed.

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By comparison, cable shows will feature 40 gay characters as series regulars, GLAAD said.

The seven broadcast characters appear on five shows, Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, The Office and the new midseason series Cashmere Mafia.

ABC shows are home to six of the seven, with one on NBC. There were no lead or supporting gay or transgender characters set to appear on CBS, FOX or CW, GLAAD found.

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