The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said the new broadcast season has fewer gay, lesbian or transgendered characters than last season, with the vast majority on ABC shows. By contrast, the number on cable shows is up.
But it also said improvements have been made in the way such characters are portrayed on TV.
There are seven such characters on, or slated for, broadcast TV, featured on five shows: Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, The Office and (for midseason) Cashmere Mafia.
That represents only 1.1% of the regular characters on all series (87 scripted comedies and dramas), vs. 1.3% last season, according to its 12th annual Where Are We On TV? analysis.
"This increase in recurring characters from last year's five suggests that producers and writers are showing a guarded interest in being inclusive without making the characters lead or supporting," the group said.
The alliance said the real heavy lifting was being done by cable, where there were 40 regulars across only 21 scripted series, up by 15 characters over last season.
The alliance said the numbers, in part, "reflect a continued commitment to diversity effectively demonstrated by mainstream cable networks such as The N, FX, HBO, Showtime and BBC America."