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October 4, 2011

Character Portryal on TV

647 characters are currently on network TV but only five have physical/mental challenges.  Last year, only four had challenges.  This information is based on 91 stations that have TV scheduled in 2011-12.

“People with disabilities represent our country’s largest minority,” said Christine Bruno, co-chair of the Tri-Union I AM PWD campaign to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in entertainment, which helped conduct the report. “We look to our stages and screens not only for entertainment, but to hold a mirror up to society. Our industry has a responsibility to its artists and the viewing public to accurately reflect what we see on our streets and in our communities.”

The characters shown on network TV who have physical/mental challenges include a boy with Asperger’s syndrome, and a boy who is wheelchair dependent.  There is also a grandma with Alzheimer’s disease.
Cable TV showed a slight increase in portraying characters with physical/mental challenges.  They had ten characters on their shows with four in reprieve roles.  Cable highlighted conditions such as Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy.

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