the critical success of films like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Transamerica” and “Rent” — which
help shatter stereotypes and change hearts and minds by telling LGBT
stories — the next wave of LGBT visibility arrives via television
screens in early 2006.
Four new network shows premiering in January (two comedies and two dramas)
will feature LGBT characters. These join a host of reality shows and returning
cable dramas that include LGBT portrayals. Of note, Showtime’s “The
L Word” introduced a female-to-male transgender character when it
launched its third season on Jan. 8, and the HBO western “Deadwood” will
introduce a gay character when it returns in June.
Viewers can be both entertained and educated by stories on television that
reflect the diversity of families and communities across this country,” said
Damon Romine, entertainment media director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation (GLAAD). “Images on television and in film have
the power to help Americans embrace their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
family members, friends and neighbors with understanding and acceptance.”
Here is a list of new television programming featuring LGBT portrayals,
and upcoming highlights for existing shows and specials (schedule subject
New series currently airing
Jan. 6, 2006: “The Book of Daniel” (NBC) is a witty and unconventional
family drama starring Aidan Quinn (“An Early Frost”) as Rev.
Daniel Webster, an Episcopalian minister who actually sees Jesus and discusses
life with him. Daniel’s family includes his 23-year-old gay son Peter
(Christian Campbell, “Trick”) and his bisexual sister-in-law.
Fred Savage plays gay son Mitch Devane on ‘Crumbs.’
9, 2006: “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” (ABC), comedy about
a single girl (Heather Graham) looking for love. Features Khary Payton
as her gay best bud Josh who runs a tea shop and has a boyfriend named
Aknad (Michael Benyaer).
Jan. 12, 2006: “Crumbs” (ABC) is a dysfunctional family comedy
with Jane Curtin and William Devane. The only sane one in the Crumb clan
might just be their gay son, Mitch, played by Fred Savage (“The Wonder
Upcoming series premieres
Jan. 17, 2006: “Love Monkey” (CBS), the new one-hour comedy-drama
stars Tom Cavanagh (“Ed”) searching for love against the backdrop
of the music industry. Features his gay pal Jake (Christopher Wiehl, “Playmakers”),
an ex-pro athlete and sportscaster.
Feb. 21, 2006: “The Real World: Key West” (MTV) is the 17th
incarnation of the reality series and features gay castmember, Tyler, who
joins the housemates in running a tanning salon in South Florida.
March 15, 2006: “Top Chef” (Bravo) is the new reality-competition
where 12 chefs aspire to win the coveted crown of “Top Chef.” Features
28-year-old bisexual Tiffani Faison (signature dish pumpkin lasagna) and
40-year-old Dave Martin (signature dish lamb enchiladas) who recently came
out as a gay man.
Additional 2006 programming Highlights
Already debuted and currently airing
Bruce Vilanch and Chastity Bono battle to lose the extra pounds on ‘Celebrity
1, 2006: “Celebrity Fit Club” (VH1) kicks off a new round
of famous people fighting flab, including out performer Bruce Vilanch
and activist Chastity Bono.
Jan. 6, 2006: “Party Line with the Hearty Boys” (Food Network)
premieres its second season, hosted by real-life couple Dan Smith and Steve
Jan. 8, 2006: “The L Word” (Showtime) season three premieres.
Alan Cumming joins
the cast as a Billie Blaikie, the quintessential party boy party planner.
Actress Daniela Sea joins the show in the recurring role of Moira, a transgender
Jan. 10, 2006: “Party, Party” (Bravo) episode features two
gay couples planning two very different weddings for themselves.
Jan. 10, 2006: “All My Children” (ABC) episode features the
exit of Bianca (Emmy-winner Eden Riegel), Erica Kane’s lesbian daughter,
who returned to Pine Valley for the holidays.
Upcoming LGBT-related television
Jan. 16, 2006: “General Hospital” (ABC) is now exploring the
story of Luke Spencer’s gay nephew Lucas (Ben Hogestyn).
Feb. 3, 2006: “South of Nowhere” (The N) airs its season finale
which may leave viewers hanging about the romantic future of teen girls
Ashley and Spencer. Not to worry, season two is on its way in Fall ’06.
Feb. 7, 2006: “Black Filmmaker Showcase: Jumpin’ the Broom” (Showtime)
is a documentary about marriage equality from an African-American perspective.
Feb. 8, 2006: “Black Filmmaker Showcase: Sarang Song” (Showtime),
set amidst the student protests of the early ’70s, a woman must choose
between her lover and the movement.
Feb. 18, 2006: “Beautiful Daughters” (Logo) is a moving documentary
about the first transgender stage production of “The Vagina Monologues.”
Real-life gay couple Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh are back as hosts
of ‘Party Line with the Hearty Boys’ on the Food Network.
19, 2006: “The Next Food Network Star” (Food Network) kicks
off its second season and features one or more LGBT contestants. Last
season’s winners, gay couple Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, are
now the hosts of the network’s “Party Line with the Hearty
April 2006: “GLAAD Media Awards” (Logo) recognize and honor the mainstream
media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community
and the issues that affect their lives.
May 2006: “Will & Grace” (NBC) is scheduled to end its successful,
Emmy-winning run after eight seasons.
June 2006: “Deadwood” (HBO) premieres its third season and adds Emmy-winner
Brian Cox as Jack Langrishe, a gay and eccentric theater owner who tries to bring
culture to the mean streets of Deadwood.