|by Bridin Reynolds|
Today, gay and lesbian characters are commonplaceif not essentialon popular television. Trend setters such as Ellen and runaway hits such as Will & Grace have successfully navigated the tough terrain of major network programming and staked firm ground in primetime.
Decades ago, however, it was only cable network leaders that recognized the legitimacy of showcasing gay and lesbian lifestyles and they remain on the forefront. Comcast of Delaware decided this month to add Logoa subsidiary of the MTV corporationto their available lineup of channels. Logo launched on June 30 in many markets across the nation including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
"Comcast has come to see that this area is a strong market for this programming. It happened relatively quickly and it is a major addition to the cable selections," said Comcast Spotlight Advertising representative and local resident Kathy Davison. From buzz music tunes to big political debate shows, Logo tailors a schedule of programs for a gay and lesbian audience. Logo is also teaming up with CBS News, attempting to cover GLBT stories and headlines in a professional and authentic voice.
According to David Bittler, Logo Vice President of Press, the expansion of Logo to smaller markets is a significant accomplishment in such a short time span. "It is important for Logo to be available to the towns and cities the gay and lesbians call home. We are extremely pleased that Comcast has extended this as an option in Delaware. We should be where gays and lesbians live and we live everywhere," said Bittler.
Among the premiere programming ranging from news to comedylikely to bolster Logo popularity ratings are "reality" shows including a retrospective entitled Real Gay.
Comedian Kim Coles, of Living Single and In Living Color, hosts the one hour special reuniting TV's favorite gay and lesbian reality stars from hits such as Survivor, Road Rules, American Idol and The Amazing Race.
On the show, the gay and lesbian participants of the widely popular shows are brought together to reveal their experiences and meet with others who embarked on similar journeys.
Logo also features several original reality series including , Open Bar which follows a gay male as he comes out and proceeds to open a gay bar and True Life: I'm Gay and Getting Married.
The elder genre to reality TVthe documentaryhas a strong presence on Logo as well. Many somber, many humorous, the lineup up of documentaries includes repeated airings of:
Liberty: 3 Stories About Life and Death which explores misconceptions of life, death, age and sexual orientation through three women.
Entitled Paragraph 175, another documentary investigates the murder of thousands of gay men. A third powerful offering on the lineup is The Evolution Will Be Televised a show where Logo directors trace the emerging visibility of gay Americans through civil rights, pop culture and individual achievements.
Logo executives seem to have a penchant for arranging films by theme and genre, with analytical introductions and intermission commentary.
"We've amassed the definitive library of lesbian and gay filmsover 200 titles in all. These are the critically acclaimed movies from brilliant directors and producers that tell our stories," said Bittler.
A series entitled Acting Out: The Guts to Play Gay, is emerging as one of the dominant features on Logo. "In this series, Logo honors actors who took the risk to play major gay roles," said Bittler. "Many actors once gave up such roles with fears it would ruin their career yet others took them, often against the advice of agents, managers, family and friends." Robin Williams, Hugh Grant, Jean Smart and Harry Hamlin are among the headliners in these groundbreaking films.
Comedy shows round out the programming highlighted by the show Wisecrack Logo's Stand-up Comedy series. Taped live at The Abbey in West Hollywood, Wisecrack debuted this summer and has Stand up comics also hit the stage and screen on Take My Life Partner Please with hilarious original installments each Thursday.
With their MTV root, Logo certainly cannot omit music on their lineup. they have included several concerts and music features including The Click List, a rundown of the top 10 GLBT videos each week
Logo is also searching for participants for continuing TV projects. Among the documentaries and reality shows in the works focus on coming out to someone important in your life; having Republican political beliefs as a GLBT individual; a documentary about what it's like to be "out on the job"'; being a gay or lesbian athlete, and a documentary about families with more than one GLBT sibling.
For more information contact Comcast or visit Logo on line at www.logoonline.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 13 September 16, 2005