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Grey's Anatomy One of Just Eight Network Shows Featuring a Gay Character

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Steven W. BaileyNine gay characters are depicted in network TV series scheduled for the 2006-07 season, a decrease from last year's 10, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said in a press release Monday.

That's roughly 1.3 percent of 679 lead or supporting characters on the six major broadcast networks in the new season, according to the group's annual study. The figure last year was 1.4 percent.

The nine gay or lesbian characters appear on eight series, one of which, not surprisingly, is Grey's Anatomy -- a show renowned for its diversity.

Fans are probably aware that Joe, the affable proprietor and bartender at the Emerald City Bar, where the doctors often go for a drink, is a gay man. The actor who portrays him, Steven W. Bailey (above), is large and often unassuming, in contrast to how gay men are often portrayed on television.

Joe plays a small but quality role on the Seattle-based show. In one episode, the surgeons removed a tumor from his brain. On another, he attended Thanksgiving at Meredith's house with his boyfriend, Walter. We're glad to hear that he will still be around when Season Three gets underway... in less than a month!

Other series with recurring gay, lesbian or bisexual characters include Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Big Day (all ABC), The Office (NBC), The Simpsons and The War at Home (both Fox).

Joe and Meredith Converse

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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i love joeeee! the show wouldnt be the same without him :]

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Grey's Anatomy should have won! I'm pissed they didn't. It's the best show ever!