‘EMPIRE’ Helps FOX Land First ‘Excellent’ Grade on GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index

Empire continues to impact FOX in a big way. First the record breaking numbers, then the Emmy nods and now the recognition for its content.

For the first time, GLAAD’s annual Network Responsibility Index is acknowledging the network for it’s excellent portrayal and inclusion of LGBT characters. And FOX has Empire to thank for that!

In just 12 episodes, the explosive first season of Empire became an instant t.v. hit. At the end of the first season, Deadline reported 21.1 million viewers tuned into FOX to watch the Lyon family drama —including the story of Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett), the openly gay son struggling to gain acceptance from his homophobic father, Lucious Lyon.

Show creator Lee Daniels, who is also openly gay, says he is very intentional about the touching, yet sometimes painful storyline of Jamal Lyon. In an interviw with OUT magazine, Daniels admits he wants to blow the lid off of homophobia in the Black community.

In a statement about inclusive storylines on television, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index has helped reshape the television landscape, inspiring LGBT characters and storylines that move acceptance forward. As representations of LGBT people in the media continue to rise in number, pushing television networks to make those representations more diverse is more crucial than ever.”