Less than 1 percent of on scripted shows on ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC feature regular characters with disabilities which currently plays out as five of 647 regular characters on broadcast networks have a disability. This information is According to the annual “Where We Are on TV” study which was issued last week by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a study that for the second year, examined characters with disabilities. Still not terrific, but doing somewhat better, scripted cable shows have ten regular characters and four recurring characters with disabilities.
Of the five broadcast characters with disabilities, three are on the Fox network but only one of the five actors are known to actually have a disability. So much for authentic casting. Even though this issue is better on cable programs where at least eight characters with disabilities are portrayed by actors who are truly disabled it is still a far cry from what we should be seeing from this industry.
Have we seen positive changes? Yes, but not nearly enough. It’s about TV reflecting society accurately and authentically, including the very large and growing segment of society that has a disability or a family member with a disability.
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