The Week in Gay TV: Showtime Gets “Shameless,” “Merlin” Returns and a Gay Man Competes for His OWN Show

Welcome to a new edition of The Week in Gay TV, your guide to the week ahead and the shows that will be battling for your attention.

This week the new winter season heats up with new and returning shows. That includes the debut of Showtime’s American version of the UK drama Shameless, ten people competing for a show on the Oprah Winfrey, the return of Merlin and more.

The SyFy Channel is bringing back the UK’s answer to Smallville, revisiting the younger days of King Arthur in a new season of Merlin. The show is frequently noted for its homoerotic moments. I don’t really see the hoyay myself, but Merlin doesn’t stint on the male eye candy — as you’ll see when Arthur and Merlin encounter Gawain this season.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more British drama, BBC America has a the season finale of Law & Order: UK, as the L&O team investigates one of their own Detectives.

Ryan O’Connor

Finally, the Oprah Winfrey Network is debuting its first reality competition show, Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star. Hosts Carson Kressley and Nancy O’Dell put ten hopefuls through various challenges to see how they will handle the pressures of following in Oprah’s footsteps and hosting a talk show.

Among the ten competitors is Ryan O’Connor, a comedian who wants to become a gay best friend for the country. He’d like to have a variety show that would take elements from his one-man show with comedy sketches, musical acts and interviews.

So far, it’s been a very gay season of The Graham Norton Show, with guests like Stephen Fry, John Waters, Bette Midler and Catherine Tate. Saturday continues that trend with Cher and Dawn French. Cher will discuss the dangers of being an icon, like the time she was mistaken for a Cher impersonator, and meeting a meat dress-wearing Lady Gaga. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that French will mention a future collaboration with Jennifer Saunders.

Meanwhile, Jim Carrey makes his return to sketch comedy on Saturday when he hosts Saturday Night Live. I Love You Phillip Morris just expanded into an additional 32 screens, so he has reason to keep letting audiences know about the movie. It’s been 15 years since Carrey last performed on a sketch comedy show and considering the current state of SNL, I’m not expecting anything worth a 15-year wait.

HGTV has some Saturday night David Bromstad when he takes inspiration from a historic theater on a new Color Splash. And don’t forget that TeenNick will continue running every episode of Degrassi ever. This weekend’s episodes should include Marco coming out to his friend Spinner, Marco’s first date with Dylan, as well as Marco’s campaign for class president against lesbian Alex.

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