¡We can no longer be a bunch of empty minds living in critical times refusing to recognize real lies!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


With the current season of RuPaul's Drag Race coming to a close, so too ends the bulk of gay shows on Logo. In a February press release, the Viacom-owned network announced it was cutting all of its LGBT-focused shows in favor of material "that reflect gays and lesbians’ increasing integration into mainstream culture today and their desire for shows that appeal to their multiple interests." The result is a new line of reality programming like Eden Wood's World and Wiseguys, which are clear reflections of the popular Toddlers & Tiaras and Mob Wives reality series on other networks. The only specifically queer programs remaining on the network are Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag U, which is also being revamped to reach a more mainstream audience. As Ben Harvey of The Huffington Post wrote, "In other words, the new Logo will be a Cuisinart-blended cocktail of Bravo, Lifetime, and Oxygen, with a pink boa as garnish." Why the decision? 
First, consider that when Logo launched there were two other gay channels on the air, Q Television Network and here! TV. Q Television went away in 2006, while here! TV is still functioning with its subscription-based business model. (It should be noted that parent company Here Media, which owns here! TV, also owns Gay.com, Gay.net, The Advocate, OUT and other LGBT properties.) So while here! TV viewers pay for their programming, Logo is reliant on advertisers, and in this tight economy that could be difficult, especially for a network catering to a specific audience.
Industry publication AdAge posed the question of "whether niche content for gays has enough profit potential for media companies and whether catering to audiences' gay identity is still the best way for marketers to reach this demographic. In short, has gay become too mainstream for its own media?" AdAge cited Nielsen when looking at Logo's top-rated show, Drag Race. The article states that the show drew 481,000 viewers for its fourth season premiere, while the season premiere of Bravo's gay fave show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which aired the night before the Drag Race premiere, drew 3.9 million eyeballs.
Thus one could assume this was simply a business decision. Change the programing to look like these other gay-friendly networks in hopes of increasing viewers and going for broader advertising dollars.
Not so, says Lisa Sherman, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Logo. “Our focus at Logo has always been to develop shows that reflect the full lives of our audience," she said in another press release. The company conducted a study with Starcom MediaVest Group that "confirms what we’ve heard from our viewers on all of our media platforms—they want programs that reflect their full-life experiences and multiple interests. So, that’s what we’ll aim to give to them as they continue to live fully integrated lives in all parts of mainstream culture.” 
Futhering this thought was SMG’s Esther Franklin, Executive Vice President and head of Starcom MediaVest Group America’s Experience Strategy. “Our big ‘a-ha’ moment happened when all the insights and data showed how ordinary LGBT life is today," she wrote. "For many parts of the LGBT community, people are just living everyday lives. We haven’t seen that insight portrayed until very recently.”
But are LGBT Americans really living "fully integrated lives in all parts of mainstream culture"? Is LGBT life "ordinary" and are we "just living everyday lives" as these women claim? Such a statement implies that gay people can have a first date at a TGI Fridays in the suburbs just as comfortably as they could at a Hamburger Mary's in the gay ghetto. That may be the case for homosexuals living in New York or Los Angeles, but is it the case for gays living everywhere else in America?
To back up these statements were survey results, however it should be noted that there were "over 1,000 participants" in the survey, some of whom were straight, and that "both qualitative and quantitative methods" were used. The effort was launched in New York in June 2011 and revealed that "53 percent [of respondents] conveyed that they don’t hide being gay, but that for them it’s not a priority to showcase it. And only 30 percent indicated that they preferred living and socializing in exclusively gay and lesbian communities."
"This isn't surprising," observes HuffPo's Harvey. "Most real-life conversations don't start with 'Hi, I'm a homo.' Instead, we define ourselves as electropop fans and Foursquare addicts and cat freaks who just happen to be gay. However, just because we don't lead with 'I'm gay' doesn't mean we don't want to see gays on reality shows altogether."
And that's really the larger point in this discussion. If Logo, Lifetime, Bravo or any network wants to change its programming slate to generate more revenue, then by all means the executives should make that change. But to say the decision comes from a study on how LGBT Americans are living their lives today feels somewhat disingenuous, especially when one considers the continual reports of discrimination, inequality and attacks happening upon LGBT Americans. Just because gay people can find LGBT news topics on MSNBC or watch gay characters on Bravo or in an episode of Modern Family, doesn't mean they don't want a magazine, website, or television network dedicated to their sensibility.


  1. Sad because Logo was instrumental in my coming out. Since it's not public tv supported by contributions from corporations, foundations and viewers 'like you and me', somehow, the bills need to be paid and what can you expect. MAINSTREAM AND ORDINARY? isnt that what 'we' wanted? Be careful what you wish for cuz it might turn around and bite u in the ass.

    1. Yeah, I often wonder if we get what would happen if we achieve our goals.

  2. Business. It's about making money, which ties to advertising and ratings. Here there is only OUTTV. So mixed between Drag shows, QAF marathons and a movie here and there are chat shows and that's pretty much it beyond pay per view

  3. Well that's more than what we have here in the Bahamas.




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