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Gay couples love the Murphy Brown revival, LGBT-focused ratings show

Sofia Lotto Persio October 25, 2018
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Actor Jake McDormun, and actress Candice Bergen of the television show "Murphy Brown" speak during the CBS segment of the Summer 2018 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 5, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The CBS revival of its classic show Murphy Brown is a favourite among LGBT+ audiences, a new audience survey by ratings service Nielsen focused on same-gender households showed.

In the first week of the 2018-19 season, which started on September 24, about 340,000 same-gender households tuned into CBS to catch up with Murphy Brown, the show’s titular character and the star reporter of “FYI,” a newsmagazine series.

The sitcom, whose first-ever episode aired in November 1988, gathered a larger portion of LGBT+ television viewers than the second highly-ranked show, NBC’s drama Manifest, and FX’s American Horror Story, the anthology horror series created by openly gay screenwriter, director and producer Ryan Murphy, who was the third-highest preference just above NBC’s This Is Us.

The survey was released as part of Nielsen’s newly revealed efforts to increase representation of LGBT+ perspectives in its offer. According to a press statement published on Thursday (October 25), the company has been working with LGBT+ media monitoring organisation GLAAD to “reflecting LGBTQ inclusion and representation in its industry-leading panels, including evaluating recruiting and classification techniques that help better identify same-gender spouses and unmarried partner households to participate in Nielsen’s nationally representative panel.”

The cast and producers of “Murphy Brown” speak during the CBS segment of the Summer 2018 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 5, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty)

Nielsen hopes that the reports will contribute to more diversity in both marketing and programming.

“Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative for Nielsen and why we will continue to invest in ways to ensure our world-class TV panel reflects the true diversity of the consumer landscape,” said Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen.

He added: “This enhancement will help both programmers and marketers gain LGBTQ audience insights and provide the industry with better understand the compelling opportunity these consumers represent.”

Also on Thursday, GLAAD released its annual “Where We Are on TV” survey on LGBT+ representation on the small screen, which saw an overall increase in the visibility of LGBT+ characters and storylines.

“We are at the highest levels ever reported for LGBTQ inclusion on television, and it’s important that we know American audiences are connecting with these characters and shows,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said.

“We appreciate Nielsen’s commitment to ensuring that LGBTQ people wherever they live and consume television are being counted– and that those numbers are being reported. GLAAD is proud to work alongside them as they continue to expand and enhance their capabilities,” she added.

This year’s GLAAD survey found that there have been more LGBT+ characters of colours on screen than ever before—outstripping the appearances of LGBT+ white characters for the first time.

Related topics: GLAAD, nielsen, US

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