The Disney Channel has announced that for the first time, one of its most popular shows is to include same-sex parents, with a view to being “relevant to kids and families around the world”.

The lesbian mothers are currently being cast for an episode of Good Luck Charlie, and production is to begin next week.

The episode is due to air in early 2014 as part of the final season of the show, which focusses on a Denver family, started in 2010, and aims to appeal to whole families, as opposed to just children.

A statement from the Disney Channel read: “This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors… Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”

In the episode, the parents of the main cast are to set up a play date for their children with the lesbian parents’ children. When they arrive they learn that the couple are lesbians, but accept them for who they are.

Meanwhile, a television drama featuring a lesbian couple and their family, on the US ABC network last week saw a massive surge in ratings for its second episode, despite conservative groups protesting against it airing.

The pilot for the drama was targeted by anti-LGBT group One Million Moms, which slammed the show as “anti-family”, and said they would do everything they could to stop it “dead in its tracks”.

One Million Moms has not yet commented on the Disney Channel announcement.

A recent poll found that in the US, more people said their perception of gay people had been positively influenced by television’s portrayal of them, than said it had a negative impact.

US evangelical organisation the American Decency Association recently published an article claiming that “network television began to shove homosexuality down our throats years ago”.