MTV has been given the first ‘excellent’ rating in GLAAD’s annual index of the most gay-friendly US TV networks.

The gay organisation’s fourth Network Responsibility Index ranked major and broadcast networks for how well they show LGBT people on television.

Out of five major and ten broadcast networks, MTV was rated the best for the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT depictions.

GLAAD said that 42 per cent of a viewing sample contained references to or depictions of LGBT people and also reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of the community.

GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said: “It is with great pride that GLAAD honours 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.

“From their inception, MTV programmes 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.”

The CW, which shows 90210 and Gossip Girl, was ranked the best of the broadcast networks. The report said that 35 per cent of its primetime programming hours were LGBT-friendly.

Fox was ranked second behind The CW with 30 per cent for showing LGBT people, but was given an ‘adequate’ rating because some of its content was “defamatory”.

ABC, with 26 per cent, received a ‘good’ rating, while NBC was rated ‘adequate with 13 per cent. CBS was rated ‘failing’ on seven per cent.

On cable networks, MTV was on 42 per cent and ABC family was also highly rated with 37 per cent. TNT was given 34 per cent, Lifetime was 31 per cent and HBO was on 26 per cent, earning all three a ‘good’ rating.

USA, on four per cent, A&E, on three per cent and TBS, on two per cent, were all rated ‘failing’.

GLAAD reviewers watched a total of 4,787.5 hours of primetime programming, rating them for inclusion of LGBT characters or issues.