Though we're sad to see longstanding shows like Brothers & Sisters leave the air, the fall season of television will bring brand new LGBT characters and storylines to American homes.
For one week every spring, the broadcast networks present their new shows to advertisers, also giving the public their first look at what they have to look forward to. GLAAD's Where We Are On TV report in the fall will consult directly with the networks to bring you a more definitive preview of the coming season, but here's the confirmed (and potential) LGBT content from the pilots that we know so far.
In addition to ABC's four returning series featuring LGB characters, Darren Star's highly anticipated mid-season series Good Christian Belles will feature a gay character by the name Blake Reilly. The series will follow the drama stirred up in a group of Dallas society ladies after their high-school nemesis comes back home, one of whom is played by recent GLAAD honoree Kristin Chenoweth. Publicly closeted Blake is married to one of the aforementioned Belles (who's fully aware of the situation), but also in a relationship with a ranch foreman named Booth. Watch a scene from the pilot:
No new LGBT character have thus far been announced for CBS' new season, which is disappointing news considering it ranked dead last in last year's Where We Are on TV report. If any do show up, it could likely be on the new comedy Two Broke Girls from executive producer Michael Patrick King. Not only does the openly gay King often include gay characters in his programs (see: Sex and the City), but the show is set in the hipster haven that is New York City's Brooklyn neighborhood Williamsburg. It would be frankly unrealistic for the show to not include LGBT characters in some way. And if it doesn't, at the very least we can hope Alicia's gay brother Owen will have an increased presence in the next season of The Good Wife.
Alongside CBS, the CW is the only other major network not to have announced any major new LGBT characters yet. Inclusive shows 90210 and America's Next Top Model will return, but we'd also like to see creator Kevin Williamson follow through on his plans to introduce a gay character on The Vampire Diaries, as he was expected to this past season. And now that he's also heading up a new series about a teenage witch coven called The Secret Circle, that's two series in which the openly gay creator could make good on his word.
FOX's all-animated Sunday night lineup already features regular LGBT characters and content (not all good), but will become even more inclusive with the premiere of the new series Allen Gregory. The show focuses on a renowned but pretentious boy genius (voiced by comic actor Jonah Hill) who decides to try his hand at public elementary school. Allen is being raised by his father Richard and his father's "life partner" Jeremy, whom Allen has "minimal respect" for. You can watch the trailer below:
GLAAD Media Awards honoree Robert Greenblatt looks to be making some big changes in his first pilot season as the new head of NBC, and that includes announcing two new series expected to have major gay content. Premiering on Monday's this fall, The Playboy Club not only features out actress Amber Heard in a leading role, but also two regular lesbian and gay characters. Set amongst the staff and clientele of one of the infamous "Playboy clubs" in 1960's Chicago, the show will include a bunny named Alice who's a closeted lesbian in a marriage of convenience with a gay man. In fact, she and her husband are both secretly members of the Mattachine Society, the pioneering LGBT rights organization, and both are expected to have active romantic lives.
Coming mid-season from executive producer Steven Spielberg is the highly-anticipated new series Smash, set in the world of Broadway musicals. The story follows the creation a new musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, and at its heart is the songwriting duo of Tom and Julia (played by Will & Grace star Debra Messing). The openly gay Tom will find himself both dealing with a complicated love life and butting heads with the show's homophobic choreographer.
Between these two new shows and the potential for significant gay and transgender storylines on new detective series Prime Suspect (if it closely follows its British source material), NBC definitely looks poised for a "most improved" commendation on their next report card.
A lot can change between May and September, so look for our full preview and character demographics breakdown in GLAAD's Where We Are on TV report coming this fall.