NEW YORK » MTV held a solid lead among 15 networks for its representation of gay characters last season, according to a report released yesterday.
In its fourth annual Network Responsibility Index, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that of MTV’s 207.5 hours of original prime-time programming, 42 percent included content reflecting the lives of gay, bisexual and transgender people. This earned MTV the first-ever "Excellent" rating from GLAAD.
"MTV programs like ‘The Real World’ and ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ have offered richly diverse portrayals of gay and transgender people that help Americans better understand and accept our community," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.
Among broadcast networks, the CW was on top with 35 percent, while Fox ranked a close second with 30 percent. ABC, with 26 percent, got a "Good" rating, and NBC was "Adequate" with 13 percent. CBS’ 7 percent earned that network a "Failing" grade from the report.
Scoring high on cable along with MTV were ABC Family (37 percent), TNT (34 percent), Showtime (32 percent), Lifetime (31 percent) and HBO (26 percent), which all received a "Good" rating. The report assigned a "Failing" grade to USA (4 percent), A&E (3 percent) and TBS (2 percent).
GLAAD reviewed all prime-time programming on the major broadcast networks between June 2009 and May. The study also examined all original prime-time programming on 10 prominent cable networks. This included dramas, comedies, unscripted fare and newsmagazines.
GLAAD noted, with approval, the parenting role played by gay couple Mitchell and Cameron on ABC’s "Modern Family," and the story line on Fox’s "Glee" where high school student Kurt comes out as gay.
"When television networks share real stories of our community, audiences begin to see the common ground that we all share," Barrios said.
In September, GLAAD will release its annual report evaluating gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion among scripted characters scheduled to appear during the 2010-11 season.