MTV is the first network ever to earn an “excellent” rating from GLAAD in its just-released fourth annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI). And the CW had the top score among broadcast networks.
According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, of 207.5 hours of original primetime programming on Viacom-owned MTV, 42 percent included "LGBT-inclusive images that reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of the LGBT community as well as a strong cross-section of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
The NRI tracks the quantity, quality and diversity of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in original primetime programming on the five broadcast networks and 10 of the highest-rated cable networks. GLAAD reviewed 4,787.5 hours of broadcast programming and 1,227.75 hours of cable programming from June 1, 2009-May 31, 2010.
"It is with great pride that GLAAD honors MTV with our highest mark of excellence," GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said in a statement. “From their inception, MTV programs like ‘The Real World’ [pictured, New Orleans' gay roommate Preston] 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.”
The CW, which airs fewer hours in primetime than the Big Four, had 35 percent of its hours scored as LBGT-inclusive, lifting it into first place after three years in second place. That's the highest percentage ever for a broadcast network.
ABC dropped from first last year to third this year, with 26 percent of its programming qualifying as LGBT-inclusive programming hours. However, the network earned a “good” rating because of the quantity and strong quality of its LGBT images.
Fox, with 30 percent, and NBC, with 13 percent, both received "adequate" ratings. Fox earned that rating "because of the stereotypical and defamatory nature of some of its content," GLAAD said, while NBC was scored as "adequate” because of its comparatively small quantity of LGBT stories.
CBS, although up from 5 percent last year to 7 percent this year, again received a “failing” rating; most of its LGBT-inclusive hours came from its reality series.
“When television networks share real stories of our community, audiences begin to see the common ground that we all share,” Barrios said in a statement. “Over the last year, viewers across the country celebrated the arrival of Mitchell and Cameron’s baby on ABC’s ‘Modern Family,’ while teens and parents everywhere were moved by Kurt Hummel’s relationship with his father on Fox’s ‘Glee.’ These images and stories are being noticed by viewers, critics and awards programs, and we urge other networks to open their airwaves to such powerful and inclusive messages.”
Among the 10 cable networks scored — ABC Family, A&E, FX, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Showtime, TBS, TNT and USA — a majority received higher than an “adequate” rating, another first.
ABC Family (37 percent), TNT (34 percent), Showtime (32 percent), Lifetime (31 percent) and HBO (26 percent) all earned “good” ratings for the quantity and quality of their LGBT-inclusive original programming.
FX, at 27 percent, aired a significant amount of LGBT-inclusive programming, but too often "relied on stereotypes or problematic representations of the LGBT community," GLAAD said.
At the bottom of the list, USA (4 percent), A&E (3 percent) and TBS (2 percent) earned “failing” grades for their lack of LGBT-inclusive images.
The complete report can be found here.