Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.
Diversity was the hot topic on the panel for Bravo’s reality series Newlyweds: The First Year at today’s NBC Summer Press Day. Joining Bravo vice president of East Coast Development Lara Spotts were two of the four couples the show tracks over a year: Alaska and Kimberly V. Gedeon, who are African-American, and Blair Late and Jeff Pedersen, a gay couple. Spotts is openly gay and married to a same-sex partner. The onscreen couples were asked to offer their perspective on minority couples featured on scripted series TV, including the gay couple on Modern Family, Cam and Mitch. Late joked that, of the Modern Family characters, partner Pedersen most resembles Phil Dunphy, the male half of a straight couple on Modern Family. He added that he and his partner “are no poster children” for gay marriage.
Kimberly Gedeon said there was “no relationship” between race and the problems they deal with on the program which are faced by all new couple. Added Alaska Gedeon: “When it comes to marriage and commitment, it doesn’t matter if you are white, black, Spanish, gay or straight”. For her part, Spotts said: “You are watching four couples who on the surface look different and represent different minorities, but you are watching them all deal with the same issues that every married couple deals with.” Spotts said the same-sex nature of her marriage is not relevant to the show but being married is helpful in dealing with the show.
Spotts and the couples said the series is different from others that have focused documentary cameras on families in two ways: One, this will be a full year rather than a few months, and two, the couples have been given their own cameras to shoot material when the professional crew is not present. Spotts confirmed after the panel that Late and Pedersen are legal domestic partners in the state of California. Late joked after the panel that the couple is looking forward to an elaborate wedding when same-sex marriage is legalized in California “because we love a party”.