The same Mormon-owned Utah station that refused to carry NBC’s The Playboy Club last season is now giving a thumbs down to the net’s new comedy The New Normal.
The CEO of KSL-TV’s parent company told the Salt Lake Tribune that “from time to time we may struggle with content” and that the dialogue may be “excessively rude.” The comedy from Glee creator Ryan Murphy is about a gay couple who relies on a surrogate to have a baby.
“For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time,” said Jeff Simpson of Bonneville International.
NBC issued this response: “The New Normal is a contemporary look at how families are defined today, portrayed through a comedic prism. We are confident that the show will find another home in the Salt Lake City market.” NBC insiders have long pointed out that the station is in a unique situation since its parent company Bonneville is owned by the Church of The Latter-day Saints. But like Playboy Club, New Normal is expected to find a new home. (In this case, it will be via the independent station KUCW). It will apparently air on weekends, the Tribune reports.
In the meantime, GLAAD joined in on the fray Saturday. “Same-sex families are a beloved part of American television thanks to shows like Modern Family, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy,” said President Herndon Graddick in a statement. “While audiences, critics and advertisers have all supported lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender stories, KSL is demonstrating how deeply out of touch it is with the rest of the country. We invite Jeff Simpson to sit down with GLAAD and local LGBT families. We know that if he would, he would see that not only are our families normal, but my citing ‘crude and rude’ content and refusing to affirm LGBT families, KSL and Mr. Simpson are sending a dangerous message in Utah. They should make it right.”
Earlier this year, the conservative group that dubs itself One Million Moms called for a boycott of the comedy that stars Justin Bartha and Ellen Barkin. Murphy had this to say at this summer’s Television Critics Tour: “Every person and group has a right to protest something. I find it to be interesting that they would take a position before they’ve seen it. I think if they watch the show, I actually think they would love it. For the first time they will be represented! Ellen Barkin’s character is a member of the Million Moms! She will protest people and events and I think it will be great fodder for Brian and David’s characters to talk about. In many ways this show is about tolerance and the discussion of the tolerance and its delivered with sensitivity with a certain amount of veracity.”