Ellen Degeneres Developing New Lesbian Sitcom With Liz Feldman, There Is Hope For Us

ellen-show-with-chaz

probs the show will be like this

Last week, in response to GLAAD’s latest “Where We Are On TV” report, I’d lamented the lack of lesbian-led network comedies on our slate this season— I mean, considering the runaway success of gay sitcoms Will & Grace and Modern Family (and the upcoming program Sean Saves the World and the terrible-and-now-cancelled-thank-goddess show The New Normal) and the runaway hilariousness of lesbians in general, lezzers are definitely overdue for our moment to shine in prime time. Historical evidence suggests that should such a show appear, it would likely be penned by a lady-loving-lady already working in Hollywood, and today that special someone was revealed to us: Ellen DeGeneres, the last lesbian to bring us a network sitcom about a lesbian, will now also be the NEXT lesbian to bring us a sitcom about a lesbian! She’ll be working with writer/executive producer Liz Feldman (former star of This Just Out, former writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, present write for 2 Broke Girls), who is already very popular with the ladies.

Warner Brothers TV is producing the show with DeGeneres’s studio-based A Very Good Production, and what we know about the plot thus far is that it will center on “a lesbian and her straight male best friend who get pregnant just as he meets and marries the love of his life.” I think that’s three lesbian television tropes already and it doesn’t even have a title yet!

This isn’t the first time in recent history we’ve gotten really excited about a new lesbian sitcom in development, but hopefully this particular sitcom will actually make it to our television sets. In 2009, it was announced that lesbian comedian Carol Leifer (The Ellen Show, Rules of Engagement, Seinfeld) was developing a show for CBS called “You and Me and He,” which “centers on a recently divorced woman who enters a gay relationship only to find out that she is pregnant with her ex-husband’s baby.” The show never panned out. In 2011, Robert Greenblatt took over NBC and immediately picked up a Jhoni Marchinko (Will & Grace) pilot called “I Hate That I Love You,” a “single-camera romantic comedy in which a straight couple introduces two lesbian friends to one another, eventually leading in a pregnancy.” Anna Camp (True Blood, The Good Wife, The Mindy Project, Pitch Perfect) was set to star, but NBC passed on the pilot.

Will we ever see the birth of this particular baby? I don’t know, I have a pretty good feeling about it!

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Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1741 articles for us.

35 Comments

  1. Thumb up 11

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    The premise sounds pretty weak. why not just do a comedy about a lesbian trying to find love and dealing with her family instead of the whole ex-husband’s baby thing? Or just turn Words with Girls into a TV show. :)

  2. Thumb up 8

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    I got excited when I saw ‘Ellen’ and ‘sitcom’… but then it turns out to be ANOTHER pregnancy thing. I wish there were more shows (and films, for that matter) that branched out into themes beyond lesbian pregnancy and/or coming out stories. Not that there’s anything wrong with those stories, those stories are important, but there are OTHER stories that are important too.

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    Ok people I’m just gonna throw another perspective in here bc it seems everyones a bit annoyed at the idea of this show.
    I get that to most people this is just another lesbian pregnancy thing that’s been done before, and perhaps a bit weak. HOWEVER… as a person who is both lesbian and has a kid and an ex HUSBAND… I’m not 100% put off by this show. Personally, I like that ther will be more presense of this kind of thing on TV as there is SOOO little I can actually relate to in the media. I hope it works and doesn’t turn into trashy comedy at the expense of the gay community though.
    I don’t disagree with what anyone above has said, but I do think it might be enjoyable for some of us! :)

  4. Thumb up 8

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    Ugh. Why is every lesbian on tv either pregnant, or trying to get pregnant? Even when they play a minor role – I’m thinking of Jess’s friend in New Girl, the lesbian who makes an appearance every once in while. Not a particularly well-written character, but also pregnant.

    I’m reminded of an essay in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme. I forget who the author is, but she is butch and pregnant, and basically says that pregnancy is proof of being fucked by a man (although of course there’s more than one way to skin a cat). So I think this is why we see so many pregnant lesbians on tv – have to show that somehow, a man is important there and they need him/his sperm.

    The only one I’m not pissed about is in White Collar – anybody watch? Diana is pregnant but because the actor is in real life. So, I’ll allow it. Also I love White Collar, bad acting and all.

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    I’m in the process of developing a gay-ish pilot spec script and honestly, you have to be in the mindset of, “How can I shoe-horn men into this in any regular fashion?” Because you just know that’s what sells, unfortunately. I think that’s how we keep ending up with these situations. It’s obviously an issue with gay women in Hollywood, but it’s part of the even larger problem of Hollywood’s difficulties with women in general. EVERYTHING is for men, and if it’s not it’s a “niche” product, even though women make up, what, 51% of the population? It’s ridiculous, and it’s not changing at all. Going to the movies and sitting through previews, for example, is such a depressing exercise for me because I have a mind to keep an eye out for women characters and I just get so disappointed at the “straight man’s arm candy” roles we’ve been relegated to. In terms of artistic communities, Hollywood at large (basic cable shows and blockbuster films, the big moneymakers) are so far behind in terms of representation. I’m just as sick of this trope as the next gay lady, but as someone who wants to write for TV, seeing that this is happening at all, and on NBC, which back in the day would’ve been my dream network to work for (NOT ANYMORE, though)… it’s kind of exciting, I guess.

  6. Thumb up 5

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    Hey, maybe the second episode will be the protagonist realizing it was a false positive!

    Okay, I’ll leave fantasyland for a minute now and say that, realistically, they’re trying to get as wide a female audience they can get. They’ve already got *us* built in but that’s not enough for ratings, so they seem to be casting a wide net by trying to also tell a pregnancy story, a single mother story, etc., that they hope straight women can relate to. It’s frustrating, but the good news is that if it works, one would hope the cast would include other lady-loving ladies and their ilk and can ultimately tell more relevant-to-our-interest stories than just the preggers stuff.

    Okay, maybe I’m still in fantasyland. Or just hope-land?

  7. Thumb up 2

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    After reading this article, I don’t feel to badly about admitting that I’ve given up on lesbians in the entertainment industry. Which is a terrible I know, but if I don’t do it, I am going to loose my mind. The sad truth is I feel like nothing short of REALLY independent work is made for women who ONLY like other women. This entire concept sounds lame and I’m not going to waste my time, no matter what name you throw behind it.

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      yeah, i think i have this delusional hope that maybe JUST MAYBE if we can get this one to work, then they’ll REALLY GO OUT ON A LIMB and do a story about a single non-pregnant lesbian without children who actually isn’t tied down to anything! and is an independent woman out in the world who is not seeking a man and does not have children to take care of! maybe she could even have queer friends! maybe a bisexual friend! maybe she could be of color! maybe there could be more than one black person on the show! maybe a trans* person! i don’t know! WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT

      probably another sitcom about a white pregnant lesbian who lives in a large apartment or house and is a teacher

  8. Thumb up 0

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    Thankfully she can only be pregnant for so long. Hopefully the show lasts until it’s a lesbian-with-baby show, which is also a little meh, but at least it’s something. Maybe when the baby is out they can relegate it to a subplot. Oh, who am I kidding? Sigh.

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    I haven’t actually watched the show because I don’t have cable, but didn’t ABCFamily put out that show The Fosters? Granted, the two lesbian characters are (foster) parents, and thus, still fulfill the “woman’s role” of mother figures/caretakers, but doesn’t the whole “pregnant by your straight male best friend” thing feel like regressing? Pregnancy is not the only reason a lesbian interacts with a male. We have male friends, male co-workers, male family members, male neighbors. If they really have to “get the men in there,” can’t they just be supporting characters?

    (Also, is it kind of scary to anyone else that ABCFamily has somehow become the most progressive television channel aside from HBO/Showtime? With The Fosters and PLL, they really have the other channels beat…)

  10. Thumb up 2

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    Ewwwww. We KNOW Ellen and Liz Feldman can do better than *that* tired, hackneyed, vomit-worthy, patriarchal crap. Also, if they’re gonna take that turn, there’d best at least be some QWOC featured in this show. Actually, how about they go with that and scrap the rest of the concept. Back to the drawing board, PLEASE.

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