Roseanne alum Sara Gilbert has played many different characters as an actress. But in her new CBS daytime show The Talk, she’ll be herself – something that seems a little daunting to the actress who is one of six co-hosts on the show as well as executive producer.
At the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Wednesday, Gilbert was asked if she thought it would be easier to succeed as a lesbian in daytime television thanks to the road paved by Ellen DeGeneres.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t really ever think of things as out or in. I just think I am who I am and when topics come up that are appropriate, I’ll talk about them share when it seems right.”
Julie Chen, one of the other hosts who seems to be the panel’s moderator, interjected: “You probably don’t know the answer to that right now. Because once we get on the air, you’re probably going to see how much press there is about ‘Sara Gilbert’ is a lesbian.’ And then you probably can answer that a little more accurately I would think. It’s a whole new journey.”
One reporter tried to gauge just how comfortable Gilbert is about her personal life since in the initial press release announcing the show, the husbands of Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remni and Marissa Jaret Winokur were all mentioned but Gilbert’s partner Allison Adler was not.
“That came from me,” she said. “CBS would have written whatever I wanted. I’ve been acting my whole life, and I’ve never really discussed my personal life. This is a talk show. so obviously I’m going to be discussing my life more and I felt that the first place that I wanted to do it wasn’t in a CBS press release. It just seemed impersonal, and I felt like I’d rather come in person and talk to you about all that stuff here [at press tour].”
Sara was also asked if a performer who is gay can be out and worry less about the impact on their career these days. She said: “I don’t know. I’m not an expert on this or I don’t analyze these things. I’m just sort of living my life. I plan to put my heart and soul into this show and I plan to continue acting, and I don’t think it will be a problem.”
After the session, Sharon Osbourne – a staunch LGBT supporter – told Greg In Hollywood that the questions about Sara’s sexuality “really pissed me off. Who’s business is it? Why does it matter?”
But I decided to talk to Sara about it anyway, wondering if she, for example, would take a cue from Rosie O’Donnell when she was on The View and would talk often about then-wife Kelli Carpenter and their kids. [She and Allison have two children].
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m naturally kind of a private person. I’m at a place in my life where I’m excited about this project and I want to share more. How much that is I guess I’ll get to find as the show goes. I’m not someone who’s been a talk show host before so I’m going to follow the lead of people like Sharon and Julie who have a lot more experience than I do and try and find the right zone for myself and my family.”
it was for her to, for the first time, talk a little bit about her girlfriend in front of the media.
“It feels fine,” she said. “It’s a change for me and I’m excited. That’s one of the things I love about life is changing and growing and having new experiences because if I didn’t then it would be the same thing over and over again. I feel happy about where I am in my life right now.”
Publicist Howard Bragman, who recently helped actress Meredith Baxter (pictured) and singer Chely Wright with their well-orchestrated coming out campaigns, has a special Coming Out airing on A&E later this year.
Early reports had Bragman involved in a series but he sat down with Entertainment Weekly to clarify the focus of his upcoming television project greenlit last week. Here is an excerpt:
Q. Are you envisioning this as a live show, where people pop out from behind a curtain and say “Hey, I’m gay!”? Or will it be more of a behind-the-scenes look as they go through the planning and process of coming out?
A. The latter. It’s going to be very documentary-esque. We’re going to be telling people’s stories, and you have to do that with a certain amount of sensitivity. You know as well as I do, none of us gets out unscathed from coming out and growing up gay. I don’t care if you’re the best looking kid in the world and go to the most liberal school and have the best parents: It still screws your head up to some extent, and we all get a little damaged as a result of it. And hence we get stronger and more creative, and lots of good comes out of it, but it’s not easy.
Q. Why do this show, and why now?
A. I want people to understand that standing up and saying “Yes, I’m gay” is a huge deal. Right after Chely Wright (pictured, left) taped Oprah, five days after she came out, she found out that at the little high school she went to in Kansas, three kids went to the guidance counselor and said, “We’re gay. In honor of Chely, we’re coming out. We’re dealing with it.” And the high school promised them a safe place to learn. That was huge for Chely. That made it all worth while. We have to understand what the suicide rates are for gay teens, and the damage that some of the hatred in the world does to people. We’re in a country that’s very divided on this issue, but it’s not okay to be homophobic; it’s that simple. If we change a few minds, then the show has been successful, no matter what the ratings are. You used the term “post-gay world” when you blogged about the show last week, and some people disagreed with you. But my theory is the revolution is over; we’re now in the evolution. Evolutions take longer and produce fewer results than revolutions, but we’re getting changes incrementally.
President of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler was asked this morning about her network’s horrible track record in recent years of having any LGBT characters in its dramas and comedies.
The exec said at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour event in Beverly Hills that there were a couple of pilots and a couple of other pieces in development “that unfortunately we didn’t pick up.”
“But we are adding a few characters to this season because we are very disappointed in our track record so far. We know we will do better. We’re going to meet Alicia’s brother on The Good Wife as a gay character. We’re also going to be adding a new character to Rules of Engagement. Jeff and Audrey’s surrogate will be a member of Jeff’s softball team and she’s a lesbian. We’re also going to be recurring a gay character in Bleep My Dad Says. The character Tim Bagley played will be returning this season.”
Tassler added: “Once you come out of your pilot season disappointed with yourself, you go into the current series season and say “Let’s look for every opportunity to imporove the numbers we have represented in the cast so we’re going to do that. And then we’ll continue to focus on that as we go into development season. We’re not happy with ourselves.”
CBS received a “failing” ranking last week from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). The network has more hit ensemble dramas than any other with the CSI and NCIS franchises as well as Criminal Minds and The Mentalist but not a single regular character is gay – not ONE. Ditto for its comedies which include Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory,Rules of Engagement and the now-canceled New Adventures of Old Christine.
But CBS has featured gay contestants on its hit reality shows Amazing Race, Big Brother and Survivor.
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios has just issued this statement in response to Tassler’s comments: “It is encouraging that CBS shares our disappointment in the network’s lack of gay and transgender representation and we are hopeful that the new characters will help build awareness and understanding of our community among viewers. After two years of receiving a ‘failing’ grade and a commitment last year to be more inclusive, we hope that CBS President Nina Tassler makes true on this promise to bring the network more in line with the industry standard.’”
Hi all! I’m sitting here in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel eating a very boxed lunch, a brief lull in the action here at day 2 of the annual Television Critics Association summer press tour.
The broadcast and cable networks are previewing their new shows for us and trotting out all their talent and today is CBS’s day.
I was just standing next to Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii Five-O) and earlier had interviews with Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly) and Sara Gilbert and Sharon Osbourne of The Talk (think The View without the annoying Elisabeth Hasselbeck).
I’ll get the interviews up as fast as I can but in the meantime, you can get a taste of what I’m hearing by following me on Twitter. I’m tweeting like a mad man today so join the party!
We’re so used to men being so uncomfortable about their sexuality but actor Tom Hardy certainly isn’t!
A star of the box office smash Inception, Tom talked toDaily Mail and was asked if he’d ever had sexual relations with a man. Here’s his surprisingly candid answer: “As a boy? Of course I have. I’m an actor for ****’s sake. ‘I’ve played with everything and everyone. I love the form and the physicality, but now that I’m in my thirties, it doesn’t do it for me. I’m done experimenting but there’s plenty of stuff in a relationship with another man, especially gay men, that I need in my life. A lot of gay men get my thing for shoes. I have definite feminine qualities and a lot of gay men are incredibly masculine.’”
The 32-year-old actor (pictured below in a scene from Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio) is engaged to British actress Charlotte Riley, 28, and also has a two-year-old son with a former girlfriend.
In Guy Ritchie’s hit film Rock’n'Rolla, Tom starred as gay gangster Handsome Bob who had a crush on Gerard Butler.
Before Chaz Bono went public with his transition from female to male, Alexis Arquette had already gone through her transition from male to female.
The star of such independent films as I Think I Do with Tuc Watkins,Grief, and Killer Drag Queens on Dope, has also had supporting roles in such studio movies as The Wedding Singer (remember the Boy George-like singer?), Threesome and Bride of Chucky. Her breakthrough role, ironically, was as transvestite Gorgette in 1986′s Last Exit to Brooklyn.
At the Outfest Film Festival three years ago, I watched the documentary Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother and found it to be very moving and not easy to sit through because of its honesty about such things as taking hormones and about removing or not removing genitalia.
The decision to transition could not have been an easy one and professionally, it has clearly had an impact. Alexis has not had a movie role in 2005′s Lords of Dogtown and her only television role since then was a 2008 episode of Californication.
Alexis, who is 41 years old today, deserves the very best and and I hope she is having one helluva birthday party!
GLAMBERT MAINA: Lots going on in the glam world of Adam Lambert.
The singer wraps a two-night stand at the OC Fair’s Pacific Ampitheatre and if I were not covering the TV Critics Association Summer Press Tour this week, I’d be there with a beer in my hand.
Also, today’s The Oprah Winfrey Show repeats Adam’s appearance from earlier in the year (along with Susan Boyle’s!). Adam chats with Oprah and sings Whataya Want From Me and If I Had You.
Adam (pictured left on Ryan Reacrest’s KISS show yesterday morning) also appears in the next People Magazine via the photo above of him hoisting a beer, according to the Adam Lambert Fan Club Facebook page.
Since Zach Snyder, director of such films as 300, Watchman and Dawn of the Dead, does his work behind the scenes, it was not until seeing some photos of him at the recent Comic.com that I realized what a good looking man goes with that name!
Zach is 44 years old and founded his production company Cruel and Unusual Films in 2004 with his wife Deborah Snyder and producing partner Wesley Coller. He made his feature film directorial debut that year with the remake of Dawn of the Dead.
What had he been doing before that?
Commercials! And not small ones. His clients included Audi, Subaru, Nissan, BMW, Nike, Reebock and Gatarade.
Next up for sexy Zachis Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole which is due to be released this year. He is scheduled to begin work this fall on the film Sucker Punch.
Today was the kickoff of the summertime Television Critics Association press tour and Greg In Hollywood will be bringing you coverage over the next two weeks!
But your faithful blogger was not at today’s first event: a visit to the set of ABC’s Desperate Housewives. But, thankfully, Ray Richmond of Deadline Hollywood was. Show creator and executive producer Marc Cherry was asked about the pending $20 million lawsuit filed against him by former cast member Nicolette whose character was written out at the end of season five. She alleges physical abuse and that she was fired for reporting it.
Said Cherry: “I’m not going to comment further on that because I have some Disney lawyers who would have my hide if I did….As you know, I tend to kill off people on this show, something like 36 of them in its history. I’ve had only one bad experience with someone who took umbrage at their firing.”
Flanked on the Housewives set by regulars Eva Longoria Parker and Marcia Cross, Cherry continued, “You guys can come here and see how we interact, and how much love and kindness and tenderness there is.
Richmond also reports that Cherry may be ready to pass the reigns of the show along to someone else after the end of season seven: ““I hope (Housewives will be around) for a couple of more seasons, and my thing is I always will be executive producer and consultant on the show. It’s my baby. I can’t let go. I have control issues. They can’t totally get rid of me.”
Full disclosure here: I cannot stand Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
It’s not so much that she’s a staunch Republican, it’s that she does not seem to have a fully formed mind. She has been known to parrot certain conservative talking points with utter conviction and just does not seem to me to be at the level of some of the other cohosts[not including Sherri Shepherd] on The View who seem to speak more from life experience.
Anyway, Elisabeth once again went off on things she knows nothing about when the topic turned to women coming out later in life as lesbians. Hasselbeck thinks she knows why: Guys their age are going after younger women leaving these poor gals with no one but each other.
Uh, I don’t think that’s how it works but maybe Meredith Baxter can go on the show soon and talk some sense into this gal.
Joy Behar did a pretty good job of debunking this theory: “That’s ridiculous. I’m sorry.”
“Being gay is not just holding hands and walking through the tulips,” Joy added. “There are things people do sexually. I don’t think you suddenly wake up one day and say, ‘Oh, I wanted to do that.’ You wanted to do it, but you were just trapped in a system that has just said, ‘get married.’”
I can’t wait to hear Elisabeth’s theories on the economy and world peace when President Barack Obama visits the show this week.
One of my favorite sites, We Love Soaps, has begun posting a terrific interview with actor Eric Sheffer Stevens who has made As the World Turns worth watching in its final year.
The actor talks about his delicious character of Dr. Reid Oliver in this excerpt. I’ll highlight more as the week goes on:
We Love Soaps: Have you played a character like [Reid] before?
Eric Sheffer Stevens: I don’t think so.
We Love Soaps: So it’s not typecasting or anything?
Eric Sheffer Stevens: [Laughs] No. I’ve definitely not played anything like him, probably characteristics that he has have been shared with other people. But he’s definitely a unique character in my experience which is what made it so fun for me. It was really well-written and fun to do. I liked the way he didn’t know how to interact with people. His only way of dealing was to be sarcastic or to say something funny. They wrote really good stuff. All the eating stuff and talking with his mouth full all the time started out as their idea, but as it went on, any time there was food on set I would grab it and start shoving it in my face.
We Love Soaps: Reid had battles with Luke, but he was also battling with Bob. I thought that made it really interesting and unique because Bob is the pillar of society.
Eric Sheffer Stevens: Right. He started out more well-rounded maybe than they usually do because right away he didn’t just have the Luke and Noah storyline with the blindness, but he was clashing with Dr. Bob, which was really fun because I love Don [Hastings], that guy is amazing. I really admire him. And also right off the bat clashing with Trent-Henry. He had a foil to play off of instead of just being a third wheel in the Luke and Noah romance. It was really fun to do the stuff with Trent because he and I worked together six years ago. We did George Bernard Shaw’s “Misalliance” in Baltimore. He’s a great character actor. He’s just a great actor. He’s very inventive and comes up with really funny stuff to do. He does great “takes” and has a really solid background.
Broadway is always a little more special, not to mention exciting, whenever the great Patti LuPone is in a show.
Last seen in Gypsy, for which she won a well-deserved second Tony Award, Miss LuPone will be featured in the upcoming production of the new musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown based on the film by Pedro Almodovar.
The production will also star Brian Stokes Mitchell, de’Adre Aziza, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Mary Beth Peil and Sherie Rene Scott. The show is set in late 20th-century Madrid and tells the story of the intertwining lives of a group of women whose relationships with men lead to a tumultuous 48 hours of love, confusion and passion.
The book for the musical is by Jeffrey Lane with music and lyrics by David Yazbek. Bartlett Sher will direct the show which will begin previews Oct. 2 and open Nov. 4 at the Belasco Theatre, according to BroadwayWorld.com.
For LuPone, the show will be the latest in a stellar Broadway career dating back to the mid-70s when she received a Tony Award nomination for The Robber Bridegroom. She won her first Tony for Evita in 1980 and was nominated again in 1987 for Anything Goes and in 2005 for Sweeney Todd.
On the London stage, she created the role of Norma Desmond in the original production of Sunset Boulevard and won the Olivier Award for originating the role of Fantine in Les Miserables.
It’s never really made sense that Logo pulled the plug on the Noah’s Arc television series after just two seasons.
There were just so many stories left to be told and the show was one of the biggest reasons why a lot of us tuned into the MTV-owned network dedicated to LGBT programming.
But the promise of a feature film kept us from dissolving into bitterness and that film, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom, was a wonderful gift to fans of the franchise about a group of black gay men living and loving in Los Angeles.
The feature film grossed $532,878 [according to Box Office Mojo] when it was released into theaters in October 2008. Who knows how much more if could have grossed had it ever been booked into more than nine theaters.
Anyway, when I ran into the man who played the title role of Noah, Darryl Stephens, and Jensen Atwood who played his boyfriend and then husband, Wade, I asked them this question: “Is Noah’s Arc dead?”
“Noah’s Arc as we know it is over although it seems it keeps breathing life,” said Jensen who can currently be seen nationally in a Coors Light commercial. “From what I hear, they’re trying their best to get some kind of spinoff going. I don’t know.”
“Noah’s Arc seems to never die,” he added. “Every year there seems to be new life to breathe back into it. They’ve been playing the reruns on Logo and they just played the movie for the first time on television. It’s still alive and kicking.”
Would he be open to stepping back into the role of Wade?
“I’m down, who wouldn’t want to see Wade again?”
A few minutes later, I chatted with Darryl about the possibility.
“There are a lot of rumors afloat,” said Darryl, who will appear in an episode of ABC’s Private Practice this fall. “I think most of the actors are open into it and I think that Logo was really impressed with how the movie did. I’d say that t this point anything is possible. Nothing official has been announced.”
Clay Aiken is currently on tour with his American Idol buddy Ruben Studdard (hard to believe that Ruben, not Clay, was the season 2 champ, no?).
But if you want to enjoy Clay all my himself, this new DVD Clay Aiken: Tried and True Live, should be a just have.
Live is the companion DVD of the release of Clay’s new CD and PBS special. It was taped at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts Center this past March 12 and features Clay singing classic standards including Mack The Knife, What Kind Of Fool Am I and Suspicious Minds.
I heard from a lot of Clay’s fans a few months back who objected to the fact that I described their favorite singer as an openly gay man because it doesn’t/shouldn’t matter.
Well, at this point in our history and in the struggle for LGBT equality, it does matter and I’m glad Clay decided to do that People magazine cover last year and be honest about who he is in a very public way.
Anyway, here is a little sample of Clay on the DVD:
When I met Betty White about five years ago at a Golden Girls reunion event, I got to tell her that the absolute funniest thing I ever saw her do on the show was when a little scout took Rose’s teddy bear hostage (she even sent the bear’s ear in the mail with the ransom note).
Rose desperately wanted the bear back and took matters into her own hands after Blanche and Dorothy failed to reason with the brat. My favorite moment comes when Rose utters the line, ‘Sometimes life just isn’t fair kiddo,” snatches the bear out of the girl’s hands and pushes her out the door.
The look of satisfaction on Rose’s face is priceless!
The general feeling is that during the eight seasons of Will & Grace, Eric McCormack’s character of Will did not get a whole lot of action while his female counterpart, Grace (Debra Messing) got it on with the likes of Harry Connick Jr. and Woody Harrelson.
In a new interview with Rex Wokner, McCormack reminds us that Will had plenty of men in his life and they included characters played by some of the sexiest actors on the face of the earth.
Here is an an excerpt:
Rex: … Looking back at Will & Grace, there are a couple of ways in which the program was criticized: Jack was too flamboyant or stereotypical, and you never had sex. Do you think for its time and place, Will & Grace really broke ground and that we should look back at it as something that really changed things?
Eric: Will had as much sex on camera as anybody on Friends had on camera. It’s a sitcom. Nobody has sex on camera. Will had lots of dates. Will was dating Patrick Dempsey and he married Taye Diggs. … I think that a lot of the rhetoric in the kind of anti-Will & Grace press was misguided and was from people that had stopped watching the show about three years earlier. A lot happened to Will with regards to romance, with regards to relationships and, like I said, he walked down the aisle in his own apartment with Taye. I think the show actually ended up being — as much as it got very outrageous near the end, it also got more outspoken. And I think that we weren’t necessarily a show for the gay community alone; we were for America to maybe start making some inroads. So, while Queer As Folk or something might have been a more true representation of how the gay community, particularly in cities, lives, I don’t think you could find as many young gay people that would say, “Because my parents watched Queer As Folk, I was able to come out to them.” What they do say is, “Because my mom loved Will Truman or thought Jack was funny, I was able to tell them when I was 15 or 17 that I was gay,” and the show broke ground in that way.
So often, I will have met a guy for the first time and – if he’s roughly my age – it will turn out that we grew up listening to Diana Ross, Cher, Bette Midler or Barbra Streisand.
We also worship Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Midler and boy, do we love Lucy (Lucille Ball). And then there is the whole tennis diva gr0up led by the quartet of Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf.
It has happened time and time and time again and I love it each time it does but have not given much thought about why. I just chalked it up to good taste and figured something about all of them being strong women had something to do with it.
Well, somebody posed the question recently to AfterElton.com columnist Brett Hartinger and I found his answer to be so enlightening. Here is part of it:
Gay men were traditionally very marginalized and oppressed – generally by straight men and the institutions they controlled. There were very, very few out gay men to identify with in entertainment, and we were reluctant to openly identify with our oppressors, so we were drawn to another group of outsiders: women.
But not just any women. Interestingly, we had no interest in demure, quietly-accept-the-status-quo female icons like Donna Reed, Doris Day, or the Virgin Mary (except in an ironic, camp way).
No, we were drawn to women who seemed to want to shake things up: women who seemed to be overcoming the odds of being the the wrong race (Diana, Aretha, Chita, Lena, Eartha), or having a big nose (Barbra, Cher, Bette Midler), or dealing with some kind of addiction (Judy, Liza, Janis), or just the general sense that men were out to abuse or dismiss them, mostly because they couldn’t conform to or wouldn’t play by the rules other men had made up (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Billie Jean King, and, well, all of the women listed above).
Even if it was sometimes subconscious, these women were demanding, through sheer force of their considerable talent and willpower, a reexamination of social mores.
And there was a subversiveness in how they went about it – a cheeky, wink-wink-nod-nod attitude that went over the head of many straight viewers. Through their choices of songs and roles, these divas could communicate one thing to their gay audiences, while still being conventional enough to find “mainstream” success.
When Edward Norton dropped out of the upcoming all-star superhero film The Avengers, there was wide speculation ab0ut who would step into the role of The Hulk and his alter-ego Bruce Banner.
The answer came at Comic-com this weekend: Mark Ruffalo!
Mark, currently starring in the word of mouth hit The Kids are All Right, has always been able to segue effortlessly between big studio commercial films (Shutter Island, Zodiac, 13 Going on 30, All the Kings Men and Just Like Heaven) to more art house fare (We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Apartment 12, My Life Without Me and You Can Count on Me).
And no matter what the budget or the genre, Mark is always reliably good and believable.
The 42 year old actor has endured some personal hardships along the way including the shooting death of his brother Scott in 2008. Six years earlier, Mark was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a type of brain tumor. The benign tumor was surgically removed but the actor was left with facial paralysis for a time from which he has since fully recovered.
Talk about elevating ridiculous material, Eric Sheffer Stevens and Van Hansis do wonders on today’s As the World Turns. They (and their viewers) are saddled with this ridiculous “make Reid be nice to people” storyline so he can be named chief of staff of the hospital.
We don’t get to see Luke and Reid together for a week and this is what we get? Good grief! The writers are trying to make their gay couple boring just as they did to Luke and Noah. But Stevens is such a good actor that he at least makes it fun and he takes Hansis right there with him.