Ryan Murphy accuses The WB of being ‘relentlessly homophobic’ during the making of ‘Popular’
Before Glee, before American Horror Story, and even before Nip/Tuck, there was Popular which I never missed.
That was Ryan Murphy’s very first television series which ran for two seasons on The WB from 1999 to 2001.
While the high school set show launched Murphy’s TV career, the openly gay TV powerhouse reveals a behind-the-scenes battle with the network that was also airing Dawson’s Creek at the time.
‘They never got me and they kept trying to turn me into something else. And they were very homophobic even though they would have gay characters on the air,’ Murphy tells Entertainment Weekly.
He adds: ‘They would give me notes, like, “The Mary Cherry character, like, could she be less gay?” Like, it was very relentlessly homophobic. It was rough and I didn’t have a good experience with the studio and everybody.’
The show served as a launching pad for several future television stars including Sara Rue, Christopher Gorham, Carly Pope and Leslie Bibb. It was canceled after just two seasons but has remained a cult hit.
Murphy’s feelings ‘deeply saddened’ a source who was at The WB when the show was on the air.
‘We absolutely loved Ryan personally and were bewitched by his incredibly unique voice. I am crestfallen to learn that he wasn’t comfortable during that time and worst of all that he considered us homophobic,’ the unidentified source told EW.
‘While I thought our relationship with Ryan was strong both during and well after Popular, nobody should feel the way he felt and if we were unwittingly responsible for that to any degree I’m deeply saddened.’