August 31, 2012 1:06pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC's 'The New Normal' Finds New Broadcast Home in Utah
A week after an NBC affiliate in Utah declined to air The New Normal, the comedy about a gay family has found a new home in Salt Lake City.
KUCW-TV, an Ogden-licensed station with ties to The CW, ABC and NBC, has picked up the comedy for broadcast, an NBC spokesperson confirms to The Hollywood Reporter.
The station will broadcast the comedy from Glee's Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler on at 10 p.m. Saturdays, ahead of Saturday Night Live. The move marks the latest in a string of series that KUCW has picked up after Salt Lake City's KSL-TV -- owned by Bonneville International, a division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- has declined to air including last year's The Playboy Club.
KSL declined to air New Normal, about a same-sex couple (Andrew Rannells, Justin Bartha) who turn to a surrogate to help grow their family. The station this week met with Utah-based advocates representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, holding firm on its decision to not broadcast the series.
"It was helpful to talk together, to better understand issues and to be able to discuss the reasons behind our decision to not air The New Normal," KSL said in a statement. "This was not a decision we made lightly, and it was not made because of any single issue including gay characters or LGBT families.
"As a communications company we make decisions every day regarding our programming, and we made a decision to not broadcast this program because we feel it had a number of issues including sexually explicit content, demeaning dialogue and inciting stereotypes," KSL said. "We care about and value all members of our community, including LGBT people and their families, and are grateful when there can be the type of cordial and respectful dialogue."
The meeting, arranged by Utah advocacy groups Equality Utah and Utah Pride between LGBT families and KSL and Bonneville executives, failed to change the affiliate's decision, a move GLAAD blasted as being "out of touch."
"From the outset, it appeared clear that the presence of gay characters factored into KSL's decision," GLAAD president Herndon Graddick said. "With gay families having long been part of some of television's most well-known and popular series, KSL's decision is out of touch with a vast majority of television viewers, advertisers and critics. Refusing to air this series about gay families sends the wrong message to LGBT families and young people in Utah."
To that end, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has partnered with Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center to host a panel discussion and screening of the series, the pilot of which is available online ahead of its Sept. 11 premiere. Details on the screening were still being ironed out and will be announced later.
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The screening follows a similar move from the LGBT media watchdog group. Fifteen years ago, GLAAD partnered with Birmingham Pride Alabama for a screening of the so-called "puppy episode" of Ellen -- which featured Ellen DeGeneres' character coming out as a lesbian, timed to her personal announcement on her sexual orientation -- after an ABC affiliate in Birmingham declined to air the episode.
Meanwhile, co-star Ellen Barkin -- who plays a racist, homophobic grandmother to the couple's surrogate -- called KSL's decision not to broadcast New Normal a form of censorship. "Yes, it is their right to Barnes & Noble something, but I do think it’s a form of censorship," she told reporters during a conference call this week.