LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “The Real World” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” helped MTV became the first TV network to win an “excellent” rating for its portrayal of gay, lesbian and transgender people on television, the U.S. activist group GLAAD said on Friday.
In its fourth annual report mapping the quantity and quality of gay images on TV, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also gave high marks to young female-oriented network the CW for shows like “America’s Next Top Model”, “Gossip Girl” and “One Tree Hill.”
But despite welcoming gay teen storylines on hit musical comedy “Glee” on Fox, and the appointment of lesbian Ellen DeGeneres as a judge on “American Idol”, the Fox network was slammed for offensive stereotypes on “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show”.
GLAAD said that on both animated series last season, characters vomited at the thought of having sex with a transgender woman.
“It is with great pride that GLAAD honors MTV with our highest mark of excellence in recognition of the network’s commitment to fair and accurate representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios.
GLAAD said that 42 percent of the 207.5 hours of original programing on MTV in the 2009-10 TV season included images that reflected the diversity of the LGBT community.
Four gay members and a transgender competitor appeared on “America’s Best Dance Crew”, while “The Real World:Washington DC” featured two bisexual roommates.
GLAAD welcomed MTV’s efforts because of its large 18-34 year old audience. Public opinion polls show that young Americans are more supportive of the LGBT community than their older counterparts.
The CW — the smallest of the leading U.S. networks — had 35 percent of LGBT-inclusive prime time programing hours, the highest percentage among the five biggest broadcast channels.
GLAAD awarded the CW a “good” rating, along with ABC, ABC Family, HBO, Showtime, Lifetime and TNT. Fox and NBC were both deemed “adequate”, while CBS — the nation’s most-watched network — received a “failing” rating.
GLAAD says portrayals of gay people on television help Americans better understand and accept the LGBT community in their everyday lives.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Dan Whitcomb