TCA Update: Brothers & Sisters, No Ordinary Family, Cougar Town and more!

Sunday was ABC’s turn at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour and what is arguably the most gay-friendly broadcast network looks set to be even more gay-friendly this fall.

I’ve previously reported there would be a major gay character on the new legal drama The Whole Truth with Rob Morrow and Mara Tierney. Anthony Ruivivar is set to play Alejo Salazar, one of the attorneys who works for Morrow. 

I’ve also written about Happy Endings, a Friends-like sitcom that features Adam Pally as Max, one of the six friends featured on the show. Max is gay but isn’t your typical TV gay guy obsessed with fashion.

When I asked David Caspe (pictured right), the show’s creator, about his reasons for including the character and he told me, "My main goal with this show was to make something that was real. To try and make it feel and sound like a group of friends – my group of friends – and make it more representative of what groups of friends are like now. In my experience, no one’s group of friends is all white and straight anymore."

Closer to the show’s premiere I’ll have more from Caspe and an interview with Pally. 

Two new ABC shows – My Generation and No Ordinary Family – currently have no gay characters, but Family creator Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters) promises that will change early on in the season, assuming things go well for the show.

Says the out Berlanti:

If we get a full season, without a doubt. It’s part of who I am. And I don’t know how to do a TV show that doesn’t have a representation of that on TV. I would say that it’s … I always feel like it’s most critical there [in family drams] because it’s a representation of who we really all are as a culture, as a country, certainly of who I am. It’s a representation of who I am as a family. I want to find the most interesting way to do it. I don’t want to do it just to do it. But I do think I feel a particular responsibility to do that because it’s something that is really true to me.

Meanwhile, My Generation, a documentary style drama following nine twentysomethings ten years after they graduated from high schools, does not have a gay or lesbian character, something critics immediately wondered about given it’s large cast and contemporary subject matter.

My Generation creator Noah Hawley (pictured left) said the script originally did have a gay character, but having eleven or twelve characters was too unwieldy. But he promises that will change and that "It is definitely on my mind to have that element on the show. I think you can tell from my cast that diversity is important to me.  I’m not going to announcing a quotient, but I think that those are really critical stories to tell. And there are real historical moments as gay marriage was introduced in San Francisco and Massachusetts. And definitely it is my intention to tell those stories as well."

Brothers & Sisters and Desperate Housewives will be returning to the ABC fall lineup and both of are interest to gay/bi viewers. Berlanti isn’t deeply involved with B&S these days, but he did tease something about Kevin and Scotty. Said Berlanti, "They’ve got something big going on with them. Something fun and exciting. Something very risqué. That’s all I can tell you. David Marshall Grant would kill me [if I spoiled it]."

As for Desperate Housewives, Bob and Lee ended the season separated, something that upset many gay viewers. Well, there’s good news for their fans as both have become series regulars this season and one of the housewives is going to be working to get them back together.

As for why the gay househusbands split up in the first place, it wasn’t necessarily because the show didn’t want to include them anymore. Sabrina Wind, an executive producer for the show, says there was an off camera reason for the breakup. "Kevin Rahm had a pilot and we wanted to give him an out. It’s the same thing we did with Dana Delaney. Two characters walked out the door. We didn’t want viewers wondering where they went with no explanation if they didn’t come back."

Meanwhile, Cougar Town is looking to possibly adding a gay character, but CT creator Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) was reluctant to discuss it in detail as the episode introducing the character is just now being written. But doing so is important to Lawrence who loves Cougar Town, but says, "The one thing I’m not digging about the show is I haven’t written a family show in a long time and I’m not psyched by how lily white it is. It’s not multiethnic, it’s not mult sexuality. I look at everybody and ‘Wow, it’s a homogenous show!" 

Lawrence did say the fact that Travis is going to college provides a good opportunity to introduce new characters. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,