Monday, February 18, 2008


The Bay Area Reporter gave a great Valentine's gift to its readers by recapping the love story of Luke and Noah — or "Nuke" as As the World Turns fans know the couple.

Supercouple is more like it, a brand designation reserved for soap pairings that have viewers rooting for more. Ratings for the 52-year-old soap have even turned around with new viewers tuning in to see Nuke (or checking them out on YouTube). The inclusive storyline garnered As the World Turns its second GLAAD Media Award nomination in as many years.

Of course, the road to being a supercouple is riddled with potholes, detours and roadblocks, and Nuke is no different. The couple is the first gay male relationship portrayed on daytime and they are the first to share an onscreen kiss. The duo locked lips for the cameras twice in 2007, and have had other kisses which have been implied but not shown, infuriating some fans who are demanding Nuke be treated the same as other couples in the fictional city of Oakdale.

Networks know their daytime audience is predominantly female and they have always geared their stories to this demo, staying away from gay male romances. With Nuke, CBS and As the World Turns have expanded the kind of stories daytime can tell and they've expanded their audience, but along with this may be some growing pains. Viewers want to see this couple portrayed as realistically as all other couples are on daytime, and that's a good thing. Problem is, getting the show to catch up with what viewers are begging and ready for.

The daytime genre is six decades old and it's taken this long to feature a male couple. All My Children broke new ground last year with daytime's first transgender story, also garnering it a GLAAD Media Award nomination. While tremendous strides have been made in the past year alone on soaps, it's clear that we're not at a place where LGBT people are treated the same on daytime as they are on primetime or cable.

But the needle continues to move ever so slightly.

Knight Rider Inclusive!

Having grown up watching the original Knight Rider (and having my own KITT Matchbox car!), I was excited to catch the new 2-hour update of the series from NBC, if only for nostalgia and kitsch value. While some of the pacing was reminiscent of the original (Mission: Impossible it ain't), a welcome twist occurred during the opening title sequence for the tele-film. As the various characters are established, we see young Michael Knight (Justin Bruening) in bed with two young ladies in Vegas. While at a beach house we see a surf diva get ready for work as an FBI special ops agent, saying goodbye to a young lady she's leaving behind in her bed. This isn't the '80s Knight Rider!

34-year-old actress Sydney Tamiia Poitier — the biracial daughter of Oscar winning actor Sidney Poitier and Joanna Shimkus — plays FBI agent Carrie Ruvai. If Knight Rider returns as a series, it will be interesting to see if the character continues to be lesbian or bisexual, or if this plot point is conveniently overlooked to create future sexual tension between Carrie and Michael.

For years, I've said how refreshingly inclusive it would be if just one of the crimefighters on a network procedural show like Law & Order and CSI was also gay. HBO's The Wire figured it out long ago. Now NBC has a chance to show just how inclusive it can be: If Knight Rider becomes a series, its Agent Ruvai may be the only queer leading lady of color on scripted network television. And as points out, if Cashmere Mafia doesn't return next season, she may be the only LGBT leading lady on network TV.

BB9 Gay Showmance Kaput

The relationship between Neil and Joshuah, brought together as "soul mates" on the new season of Big Brother 9, appears to have ended shortly after it began. Our friend Brian Juergens has been tracking the show for and reports that viewers of the live feed saw an emotional goodbye from Neil (left), who had to leave the show mysteriously only a week into the game. An edited explanation of this will likely air on CBS this week. Since this season the "soul mates" are playing as a team, that might have spelled the end of Joshuah (right) as well, but Big Brother saved the contestant by allowing him to pick someone who was voted off to bring back as his new partner. Exiled contestant Sharon isn't exactly "soul mate" material but as it turns out, there are currently four pairings on the show where romance definitely isn't happening.

Elsewhere...ABC has picked up a new comedy pilot project from Warner Bros. TV and David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the folks behind Will & Grace. Thus far untitled, the project is about two business partners - one straight and one gay - who both find their significant others around the same time and attempt to balance work and love.

BBC America's Hotel Babylon, the gay-inclusive drama series about an exclusive hotel and the staff who gives guests whatever they want, is back for season three starting March 12. Paula Abdul makes a guest starring appearance in the season opener. BBC America will also release season one of Hotel Babylon on DVD February 26.