This week in New York, the five major broadcast networks previewed their upcoming fall seasons for advertisers, and gave us all an idea of what the 2012-2013 broadcast television season will look like. Though it’s still early, we already know of several new shows LGBT viewers should definitely look forward to.
ABC will remain one of the most LGBT-inclusive networks on television when it brings back shows like Modern Family, Happy Endings, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Revenge, and Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23 next season. Though we haven't officially confirmed any new LGBT characters in the upcoming ABC slate, comedy legend Lily Tomlin will play a supporting role in the new Reba Macintyre sitcom Malibu Country, as will out actor Jai Rodriguez. It also looks as though the mother in How to Live With Your Parents (played by Weeds’ Elizabeth Perkins) is open to exploring her sexuality as she mentions in the below trailer.
CBS’ high and steady ratings mean they don’t have many holes in their existing schedule to fill with new material, but of the four shows they’ll premiere next year, one will help CBS make good on their long-ago stated intention of including more gay characters in their programming. The new sitcom Partners from Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will follow two best friends since childhood (one gay, one straight) whose new romantic relationships begin to affect their platonic one. Mutchnick and Kohan based the show’s concept on their own long-standing friendship, and cast Micheal Urie and Brandon Routh as the Mutchnick stand-in (written as an architect) and his vegan nurse boyfriend respectively. This is a significant step up for a network that has for several years only been able to cite Kalinda on The Good Wife as a regular LGBT character. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the show below.
There haven’t been any confirmed LGBT characters in the new CW shows, but we definitely know the most likely place for them to show up. The Carrie Diaries will premiere in midseason, and serves as a loose prequel to the enormously popular HBO series Sex and the City. One of show’s listed characters also included in the Candace Bushnell book it is based on is Walt Reynolds, who is one of Carrie’s best friends that later comes out of the closet and dates the school quarterback. He is portrayed in the pilot by Brendan Dooling, shown here in an on-set photo with Anna Sophia Robb, who plays Carrie.
Nothing much to report in the Fox programming thus far, though out creator Kevin Williamson’s new serial-killer project, The Following, will premiere on the net next fall. Glee remains the network’s most LGBT inclusive program (not to mention one of the most inclusive on television), but we’ll have to wait and see which students will return in the show’s fourth season when it moves to a prime new Thursday time-slot following The X-Factor and American Idol.
In terms of new LGBT characters, the most promising programming slate is over on NBC, which will feature a new comedy from Glee creator Ryan Murphy about a gay couple and the surrogate who agrees to carry their child. Openly gay actor Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) and Justin Bartha play the expectant fathers in The New Normal, who are joined by cast-members Georgia King, Ellen Barkin, and Real Housewives star Nene Leakes. Also premiering will be Chicago Fire, about the lives of emergency personnel in a Chicago firehouse, which includes a lesbian paramedic played by Lauren German. You can see previews of both shows below.