UPDATE: GLAAD released a statement today about the Salt Lake City affiliate KSL-TV’s decision not to air The New Normal, and GLAAD president Herndon Graddick invited KSL CEO Jeff Simpson to meet with the group. In addition, the show’s star, Ellen Barkin, expressed her concern via Twitter, saying, “Shame on you @kslcom.” Here is GLAAD’s statement:
“Same-sex families are a beloved part of American television thanks to shows like Modern Family, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “While audiences, critics and advertisers have all supported LGBT stories, KSL is demonstrating how deeply out of touch it is with the rest of the country.”
“We invite Jeff Simpson to sit down with GLAAD and local LGBT families. We know that if he would, he would see that not only are our families normal, but by citing ‘crude and rude’ content and refusing to affirm LGBT families, KSL and Mr. Simpson are sending a dangerous message to Utah. They should make that right.”
NBC’s Utah affiliate KSL-TV strikes again. The station, which is owned by the Mormon church, announced today that it won’t air the network’s new comedy series New Normal. Co-created by Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, The New Normal stars Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha as gay partners who are having a baby through a surrogate. “For our brand, this program simply feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time,” Jeff Simpson, CEO of KSL’s parent company, Bonneville International, told local papers, including KSL sibling Deseret News. The New Normal is scheduled to air Tuesdays at 8:30 PM. Simpson cited “rude and crude” dialogue, scenes that “may be too explicit” or characterizations that “might seem offensive.” The show features provocative language mostly courtesy of the outspoken, politically incorrect character of the surrogate’s mother played by Ellen Barkin.
KSL, which does not carry NBC’s Saturday Night Live, has a long history of preemting NBC primetime series it deems controversial. Last fall, it dropped period drama The Playboy Club for “objectionable material. (The series was picked up by MyNetworkTV’s station in the Salt Lake City market.) KSL’s previous NBC casualties include NBC’s racy comedy Coupling and the religious-themed animated comedy God, the Devil and Bob. Both, as well as The Playboy Club were quickly cancelled. Barkin tonight called KSL’s decision “blatantly homophic” on Twitter. “Shame on u @KSLcom not airing @NBCTheNewNormal. So L&O SVU (rape & child murder) is ok? But loving gay couple having a baby is inappropriate?” she wrote. “What will play in @NBCTheNewNormal spot? A dude reading from the bible?”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, local station KUCW will air The New Normal on the weekends. The station carries SNL and often picks up sports programming when KSL pre-empts it for General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the paper says. The New Normal already got in the cross hairs of One Million Moms, the organization that also called for boycott of JC Penney when the department store chain hired openly gay talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson.