Transgender Teen Activist Lands TLC Reality Show

The network will chronicle 14-year-old Jazz Jennings' family and daily life.
AP Images/Invision

TLC is becoming the latest network to explore transgender life.

The cable network has handed out a straight-to-series order for All That Jazz, a docuseries following 14-year-old transgender activist Jazz Jennings, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The 11-episode series will feature Jennings — dubbed "The New Face of Transgender Youth" — in her daily life, juggling her foray into high school while navigating how a transgender teen approaches dating and sleepovers all while avoiding male puberty.

Jennings, who has been featured on 20/20, The Rosie Show and was named one of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 by Time magazine, was assigned male at birth. Jennings — who also wrote children's book I Am Jazz with Jessica Herthel about living as a transgender teen — expressed her desire for all things typically associated with girls at an early age. In 2004, Jennings was diagnosed with gender identity disorder.

The TLC series will feature Jennings and her family, including parents Greg and Jeanette — who have encouraged their daughter to be who she is but now worry about what's next; Ari, Jazz's older sister and a freshman in college; Griffen and Sander, Jazz's 17-year-old twin brothers who are juniors in high school and are extremely protective of her; as well as Jack and Jacky, Jazz's maternal grandparents, who at first struggled to understand their granddaughter but have since fully embraced her.

"Jazz’s story is universal, yet unique, and we’re proud to partner with her family to share it with TLC’s audience," TLC GM Nancy Daniels said. "Jazz may be known as an author and activist, but she’s first and foremost a teenage girl with a big, brave heart, living a remarkable life."

Added Marjorie Kaplan, group president at TLC and Animal Planet: "We know that families come in all shapes and sizes, but at their core, they are all about love, acceptance, and support. Only TLC can tell this family’s story in way that celebrates and demystifies difference in an effort to help create a world without prejudice."

The series, which will bow in the summer, hails from This Is Just a Test and will be executive produced by Aengus James and Colin Miller.

Read more What's Behind the Rise of Transgender TV

All That Jazz comes as transgender-themed programming continues to take hold across cable and streaming. In addition to Amazon's Golden Globe-winning comedy Transparent, ABC Family also has Ryan Seacrest-produced docuseries My Transparent Life, also picked up straight-to-series and centering on a teen who learns his parents are divorcing and his father transitioning from male to female. VH1 has also enlisted Tyra Banks to produce a transgender docuseries called TransAmerica, which chronicles eight transgender millennial women. Additionally, Netflix has sci-fi drama Sense8 from Andy Wachowski and transgender sibling Lana Wachowski that will feature trans actress Jamie Clayton.

HBO is also teaming with exec producer Lena Dunham for a documentary about the transgender clients of a bespoke Brooklyn tailor. Not to be outdone, MTV has Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, a documentary about seven transgender youths, as well as scripted comedy Faking It, which features one of primetime's first intersex characters

Meanwhile, Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox, who became the first openly transgender actor to earn an Emmy nomination, was recently tapped to co-star in CBS' buzzy legal drama Doubt, playing an attorney in a role specifically conceived for a transgender actress. For its part, Fox's Glee saw three-time Emmy nominee Dot Marie Jones' character transition from Shannon to Sheldon in a major storyline in its final season that also featured a 200-person transgender choir.

Twitter: @Snoodit

comments powered by Disqus