EXCLUSIVE: The CW is taking on a controversial subject with ZE, a drama project centering on a transgender teenager. Written by Brooklyn-based writer-playwright Kyle Jarrow and executive produced by Michael London (Milk), ZE is described as a raw, quirky family drama about a FTM (female-to-male) teen and his family. A personal choice takes on controversial public significance when a Texas teenager announces she is transgender and will be living life as a boy. As his dysfunctional family spirals into identity crises of their own, he discovers that he might be the most well-adjusted of them all. CBS TV Studios is producing ZE, whose title represents a non-gender-specific reference (like he or she). While there have been a handful of transgender characters on broadcast series, most notably one played by Rebecca Romijn on ABC’s Ugly Betty, this is the first time a transgender person would be the lead of a primetime show. Jarrow is used to tackling sensitive topics; he won an Obie Award at age 24 for his Off-Broadway hit A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant.
He penned the 2010 Sundance film Armless and the upcoming indie Saint Janet and recently developed Inside, a cop drama for FX with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s production company, and Nowhere, an adventure drama for MTV. Jarrow, repped by CAA and Madhouse Entertainment, also leads the rock band Sky-Pony. Upcoming projects include the plays Ana and the American Dream (a commission by Lincoln Center Theater) and Noir (a new musical written with Tony winner Duncan Sheik). WME-repped London executive produces the Amazon comedy series Betas.