Sarah Shahi is set to return for Showtime’s upcoming The L Word sequel series!
Carmen de la Pica Morales for two seasons and was a fan favourite on the series.
“It was discussed [that] my involvement [would be] very heavily [that] I would be in it. I intend to keep it that way, and so does Showtime,”
Shahi played fan-favorite Carmen — a DJ and love interest for Moennig’s Shane — for two seasons.
“[The L Word] was my first big gig. And to be a part of that, I don’t think I ever really knew what I was stepping into until after and I started speaking with women and getting letters. Just the amount of information that was sent my way about how impactful it was, it put me on this thing where it’s like, everything I want to do from now on, I want it to have meaning and I want it to touch people. That was something I tried to do in Reverie and in Person of Interest and it’s something I’m going to do in City on a Hill. To be a part of that sisterhood was so momentous for me. I’m more than honored that I can go back and re-create it.”
Shahi also opened up about what she thinks Carmen is up to now.
“Whatever she’s doing, I feel like she’s definitely still pining away for Shane. For Shane, Carmen would be the one that got away. But I think that was a big game-changer for her. I’m not sure if she’s still DJing or not but definitely something in the music-art world.”
One thing that’s still to be determined is just how big of a role Shahi will have in the eight-episode revival. Showtime declined comment on Shahi’s involvement.
Playwright and screenwriter Marja-Lewis Ryan will serve as showrunner and executive produce alongside original series creator Ilene Chaiken.
Stars Jennifer Beals (Bette), Katherine Moennig (Shane) and Leisha Hailey (Alice) are also on board to exec produce and will reprise their roles from the original series while also introducing a new ensemble of self-possessed LGBTQIA characters experiencing love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success on the east side of Los Angeles.
The reboot, first announced in July 2017, arrives nearly 10 years after the original wrapped its six-season run. It is considered a sequel to the original. Lewis-Ryan was selected following an extensive search for a writer with ties to the LGBTQIA community to document how relationships, lives and experiences have evolved — as well as what has and hasn’t changed since the show launched in 2004. Other characters from the original series — which included fan-favorite Erin Daniels (Dana), Laurel Holloman (Tina), Mia Kirshner (Jenny), and Pam Grier (Kit) — may also appear in a potential new version.
The L Word’s co-creator, Ilene Chaiken will be an executive producer of the series with a new writer/EP with ties to the lesbian community brought in to run the production and once again chronicle the friendships and love lives of modern gay women.
Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moenig, and Leisha Hailey are set to executive-produce as well as appear on the series. Other characters from the original series may also pop up and will be paired with a whole new cast of women.
Talking to EW, Beals explained why the moment is right for The L Word to return to television.
She also explained
Years ago, Kate and Leisha and I approached Ilene because we were shocked that nothing had taken its place. There was this renaissance, in a way, going on with marriage equality coming to the forefront. It was a different terrain and we thought you can start telling stories in a different way and there’s a whole new generation coming up that views sexuality in a different way. Ilene was in the middle of doing Empire and she was very excited about the idea but there are only so many hours in the day.
Then, the election happened. I remember I was in South Dakota watching the returns come in and I texted Ilene and I said, “We need to do something.” She said, “Let’s get together and talk about it.” So we were spitballing about what to do and I said our skillset is storytelling and I think we need to tell stories and certainly in an atmosphere of increasing hatred towards the LGBT community and frankly anyone who’s categorized as “other,” stories exploring the complexities of friendship and love are all that more crucial. Representation of everything. You can’t go backward. I would love to see the show continue to mine its original themes of friendship and love and community and additionally I’d like it to go a little further and challenge heteronormalcy.
At the reunion, Kate Moenig was adamant that season 6 be forgotten — which means Jenny Schecter lives – but Beals is not to sure.
You really got to hear the pitches of what they want to do. That person is taking on a huge load. They have the history of the show, the legacy of the show, and yet they have to make it better and they have to make it theirs. So to dictate too much at this point in time I think would be problematic. I want to hear what’s coming from them and what excites them and what stories they want to tell because that’s when it’s going to be good when you let somebody fully have their voice.
And on Bette and Tina’s future, well Beals was a little cagey
I don’t want to even say what I would like to see at this point because I think it’s more important for me to be open and listen to people’s ideas and not get stuck in my own desires. If somebody says I think she should be a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. I’m gonna say, “Well I don’t think that’s such a great idea.” Can you imagine? That would be funny [Laughs].
Early this year, Showtime surprised us with news that The L Word was back for a new season.
Now, the shows creator Ilene Chaiken says the sequel to Showtime’s lesbian drama will be more inclusive than the original.
Speaking to TV Guide, Chaiken discussed what fans can expect in the new show.
It’s 10 years hence since we stopped doing The L Word, so the world will be different in all the ways that the world is different now. We’ve made progress, we’ve backslid in some ways, we’ve gotten older, some of us, and there are new young women whose stories we’re going to tell. But I will say that The L Word in 2018 will be more reflective, more inclusive than the original show we did.”
While Jennifer Beals, Kate Moenning and Leisha Hailey are expected to reprise their characters in the new show, Erin Daniels, who played Dana Fairbanks, has yet to announce whether she’ll appear in the reboot.
Chaiken said that she’s hoping Daniels will join the cast.
I hope we’ll be seeing Erin Daniels on the show. I love Erin Daniels, and maybe there’s some way – who knows. I’ve never let go of Dana and neither has the audience – maybe we will [see her].”
Entertainment Weeklyreports that Showtime is developing a sequel to its hit queer drama, The L Word.
Series creator Ilene Chaiken says she’s excited about the possibilities ahead, because there has, disappointingly, been no real follow-up in terms of television’s portrayal of gay women:
Chaiken told EW about the series returning.
We talk about it all the time. When we went off the air in 2009, I think a lot of people thought, Okay, the baton is passed now, and there will be lots of shows that portray lesbian life. There’s really nothing. It feels like maybe it should come back.”
According to EW Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Kate Moennig have also signed on as executive producers and will also appear in the series.
Beals, Moennig and Hailey will act as bridge characters into the upcoming series, which will follow the lives of a new ensemble of women, chronicling the trials and tribulations of their lives. Other original characters, including Erin Daniels (Dana), Laurel Holloman (Tina), Mia Kirshner (Jenny), Sarah Shahi (Carmen) and Pam Grier (Kit), may also make appearances in the new series.
The original series was praised as the first drama series to focus on lesbian characters in a three-dimensional, realistic way when it first debuted in 2004, and won numerous awards over the years for its portrayal of a group of friends and lovers residing in West Hollywood, California.
The success of The L Word – which ended in 2009 – helped open the door for more varied and sophisticated LGBT-driven series to flourish: Looking, The Fosters, Transparent, Sense8 and Orange Is the New Black, among others. Additionally, the drama featured storylines about equality, legal marriage and benefits and HIV/AIDS at a time when they were frequently overlooked by more mainstream shows.
Showtime previously developed a spin-off for The L Word in 2008, called The Farm, which would have starred Hailey and was set in a prison, not unlike Netflix’s Orange. The idea did not ultimately go to series.
Rumer Willis is the newest star to have a stint on Empire, playing singer-songwriter Tory Ash – an addiction-riddled singer whose entire look on the show appears to parallel the life of Amy Winehouse.
Now, new stills from the hit drama show Willis character frolicking in a giant soapy bathtub with Tiana Brown (Serayah McNeill).
The ladies kiss and caressed each other in a hot tube, before Brown’s on-off boyfriend Hakeem Lyon (played by Bryshere Y. Gray) gets involved in the action.
Yet again, disappointing from a series that started out so strong and with positive queer visibility – especially with it’s handling with Jamal – it still leans on lusty lesbian stereotypes to boast ratings.
Ilene Chaiken has done so much for bringing minority groups to the forefront of television. Firstly, she gives us The L Word, the first TV show that put lesbians lives and the lives of the LGBTQ community at the centre of the programme.
Then she gives us Empire, which is the first show to feature a majority cast of African Americans and their daily lives in the music and entertainment industry. The show is already into its third season.
Because Chaiken is a woman and an out lesbian, the fact she is at the head of these productions is a big achievement as Hollywood still struggles with diversity, in front of and behind the camera. Chaiken told Advocate Magazine:
Clearly, it’s still a boys’ club. As a gay person, there’s still is just an uphill road for us to hoe. We are underrepresented vastly, and we haven’t been represented in all of the ways in which we live in the world. I think it’s incremental, the progress that we see in that regard.”
TV is however outpacing film in regards to diversity, but this is not something that is happening everywhere. CBS got criticised in the summer for revealing an upcoming season of shows focusing on white, straight men. Chaiken believes a lot of this is also to do with the political situation in America at the moment.
Look at where we are now. It’s this extraordinary political moment and these two countervailing trends of political culture. There’s this great leap forward and this hideous and appalling kind of slide backwards. There’s a real tension in our culture right now that’s still being reflected in the entertainment culture.”
Chaiken is the lead in the writer’s room for Empire and she is a firm believer that her identities are her strengths in her job and she doesn’t see them as weaknesses. She went on to say:
The qualities that I ascribe to being a woman and to being gay are the things that I think make me good at my job. There are different ways of being a showrunner. And I like to think that I do it with a sense of inclusiveness, with a view to listening and welcoming the input of my colleagues and nurturing.”
When Chaiken led the writers room on The L Word she said that at first she was encouraged to hire writers who were straight and good at their craft but she quickly realized that writing experience was nowhere near real life experience and so she started hiring lesbian writers.
It just was so clear that in taking on this mission of doing the first show about lesbians in the history of mainstream television that lesbians had to tell those stories. We’re pulling back the curtain on our lives, and we’re the ones who know our lives.”
Chaiken also has some plans for the future and what is missing from TV right now. She says:
I’m just looking at the landscape, and I feel it’s time for another great gay show. There will be soon, I hope, and not necessarily a show about being gay, although I would welcome that, but also a show that simply is led by characters who are gay and are living their lives. In that way, we get to portray the nuances of our lives.”
This is good to hear and we will all be waiting to see what this amazing, talented and fearless showrunner will give us to enjoy next.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead, if you have not watched the April 6 episode of Empire.
Empire did its part to keep the Dead Lesbian Syndrome saga going this week by killing off Mimi Whiteman (Marisa Tomei) and her wife Camilla Marks-Whiteman (Naomi Campbell) – the new power lesbians of music.
Their demise joins a long list of lesbian / bisexual TV character who have met their end the past few weeks. The 100killed off, just after she consummated her relationship with her female lover. AMC’s The Walking Dead also killed off, as did Syfy’s The Magicians, The Expanse, CBS medical drama Code Black and CW’s Jane the Virgin.
Though the pattern of television deaths has become a recent trend, Empire showrunner (and creator of The L Word) Ilene Chaiken was quick to explain that the shocking double death does not fall into the same category.
I think that we aren’t a part of that phenomenon or conversation.”
Speaking about Campbell’s character (who had sex with a man, in the scene prior to her death), Chaiken explains:
I would say that Camilla is not a lesbian character. Camilla was, if anything, an opportunist, which is quite different from being a lesbian. If anything, the lesbians should wish for a character like Camilla to be killed off since she just preyed on a powerful lesbian in order to fulfill her heterosexual ambitions.”
Empire has always been a show inclusive of LGBTQ relationships, primarily with a series-long storyline revolving around one of the main characters Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) publicly embracing his sexuality and becoming a role model for gay fans in the hip-hop community.
But the series has proven that everybody is fair game for beat downs, insults, getting shot, melodramatic tumbles down the stairs and on and on.
We also have to remember the show is currently working to regain its footing, and killing off characters (especially lesbians) keeps things lively.
Mimi and Camilla were prop characters, and it’s a shame they were wiped out as opposed to given more depth, more compelling backstory, more thought.
So, are there any plans to introduce a loving lesbian couple on Empire? Chaiken says.
No plans at the moment, but it’s always in my thoughts. I don’t know whether anybody else shares my wish for that, but I’m always looking for that story.”
The L Word is one of those shows that most of my generation ended up finding late at night, in their room, by surprise. After all, when the show came out, Netflix wasn’t right on your computer or tablet yet – we had to make do with what we had.
For so many of us, this was the first image of lesbians we really saw before we came out (Buffy and Xena excluded, of course). Now that we’ve had some time to grow up, we have questions. So… Many…. Questions.
1. What is with Shane’s style in Seasons 1-2?
I get the whole rockstar vibe, but did she have to pick rockstars from the ‘70s? We had so many bigger fashion icons that she could have emulated from the music industry. Hell, even Elton John could have been a good look for her – so why did she look like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards?
2. And then, the rest of the seasons, too?
Okay, I’ll admit that I was sucked into the “Sexy Shane” idea for a few years… But I think it’s because she was shown as this Sex Goddess who dressed a bit like me. Albeit, the stuff never looked like that on me because I am substantially bigger than super-skinny Shane. But she basically looks unkempt throughout the whole series, and magically women fall for her like crazy. What’s up with that?
3. But really, what’s up with everyone’s style in the early seasons?
Considering how fashion-forward most of them ended up being in later seasons, it’s a little weird that everyone was so unfashionable in the first couple seasons. I mean, back then I wasn’t too terribly fashionable either, but I didn’t live in a posh neighborhood in LA – I lived in a little country town about forty minutes away from anything worth mentioning. Surely, these women had to have access to high-fashion outlets in Los Angeles.
4. Why are Bette and Tina friends with Shane?
They have literally nothing in common, and they wouldn’t even hang out if they weren’t neighbors, right? Even then, I’ve never been that cozy with random stranger neighbors… Especially those who were from obviously different socioeconomic statuses. Which brings us to…
5. How did Shane, Jenny, and that whole crew afford to live next door to Bette and Tina anyway?
I can tell you from personal experience, being a writer doesn’t pay too much – especially if you’re just kinda going your own way with it, like Jenny did. Shane is a hairdresser to the stars, but she barely ever goes to work and she keeps pissing off clients or getting in trouble with their significant others – how does she even still have a job? Right next door are rich-and-successful Bette and Tina, who have so much money saved up that Bette literally pays for an apartment for Tina as well as keeping up the bills at her own place… What?! How are these two houses even on the same street?!
6. What’s up with The Chart?
I get that this is a major plot point in the show, but how did this actually come about – and how did it grow so friggin’ big? Wouldn’t people want to maintain a little privacy in this part of their lives, especially those who were definitely in the closet about the whole thing? And the Papi hub suggested that people were literally updating their Chart status immediately after getting it on. This is rude, and no one would really keep up with something like this – especially someone as… Ahem… “Busy” as Papi.
7. Does anyone ever really go to work?
Not all of the characters even have jobs, and they’re rarely seen going to work – except Tina and Max, and of course anyone who works at The Planet, at least while they’re working there. Seriously – these people pay for their fancy houses and better fashion choices by barely ever going to work. I don’t buy it. I work 6-7 days a week and can barely afford my coffee addiction.
8. Why is Shane so irresistible?
I already touched on this one before, but really, what is it about Shane that has women entranced? I think maybe it’s a representation of what we all wish we could be… But that’s not realistic, of course. Shane would not have really been pulling in the babes, between her cursed reputation and completely disheveled appearance throughout the majority of the series.
9. Why did Bette and Tina end up together?
They were so wrong for each other, and not because Bette couldn’t keep her eyes on only Tina. Tina was a bit manipulative and controlling, and she was always in some type of pissy mood. Plus, what was with that whole cybersex thing – did we ever really believe it was just curiosity? Maybe this is my inner insecurities taking precedence – I had an ex who went looking for a piece of side action with a straight guy while we were together – but that would have been just as bad as cheating in my book. And those nicknames… Ugh. Gag.
10. Why do we feel so compelled to sing the stupid theme song?
Even if you’ve never actually sung along, you know every word – admit it. And you hate that song, but still, when you hear that intro, you start revving up and picturing the opening credits from your favorite season, no matter which season is actually on at the time.
11. How are there so many single women in LA?
Lesbians aren’t known for staying single, and any time a new lesbian enters their circle, she’s miraculously single. Most lesbians I know wouldn’t make a big move like that without their girlfriends… Anyway, I find it pretty hard to believe that many lesbians enter their world without a girlfriend. Look it over again – how many women come into the plot specifically to destroy a relationship? How is everyone just so OK with hooking up with someone else’s girlfriend?
12. Why did Ivan get mad at Kit?
Or, worded differently, why did he give her a key to his place if she wasn’t allowed to use it? Like, hello, she knows you’re transgender, and she adores you anyway – obviously it’s not her who’s making a big deal out of things and being awkward.
13. Why didn’t Jenny kick out Mr. Creepy like, yesterday?
As soon as I find out I’m being recorded without my knowledge, you’re going to be out of the picture – even if I willingly have sex with you on a regular basis. There is no way I would let someone who has shown a complete breach of personal space to continue living in my spare room. Not a chance. There’s no making up for that.
14. Why didn’t we see more Joyce and Phyllis?
They were probably the cutest couple on the show, and they were barely even on the show. I would have watched the hell out of a spin-off show. It’s not too late, ladies – please team up again and be awesome older crime fighting vigilante lesbian goddesses. Is that too much to ask for?
15. Why didn’t we get to see more of Helena in prison?
It might be one of the most overdone lesbian storylines ever, but we would all watch another lesbian women’s prison TV show – admit it. (I’d settle for a cameo on Orange is the New Black – oh please, can we have a crossover?!)
16. Who actually killed Jenny?
Rumors have been started a million times about this subject. Everyone has heard someone’s theories before, and made their own. Who do you think did it? Tell us in the comments!
(p.s. – I heard a rumor that Alice whispers she did it at the end of the final episode – but I haven’t verified this yet… Planning to dig up a recap for proof!)
I would love to revisit The L Word. We talk about it from time to time. I talk about it with some of my colleagues who were in the cast who would love to reboot it. I don’t know when.
I’m busy and most of them are too, but I do still think that it’s a viable world in which to tell stories, and those characters are still beloved as far as I can tell.”
While this is hardly a confirmation, it is exciting that Chaiken would be willing to revisit the show, and with such large fan base, a reboot would presumably be rather successful – right?!
The L Word first premiered in 2004 on Showtime, and revolved around a group of queer women living in West Hollywood – the twists and turns of the show and their love, personal, and professional lives made for some captivating and truthful television viewing.
Held a trailblazing show, this was the easily the first show to revolve completely around Queer women, unlike male-dominated LBGT shows like Queer as Folk, and Will And Grace.
While the majority of the principle characters identified as lesbian, The L Word also contained bisexual, transgender and straight characters. Additionally, a major character came out at Transgender, and the show chronicled their transition.
While Ilene Chaiken and the team behind The L Word would like to bring a reboot to their audience, it would be quite the feat to actually accomplish it.
Many of the people who helped make The L Word so great have gone on to busy entertainment careers.
And now we have Marisa Tomei playing Mimi Whiteman in the mix – a powerful woman whose money is their to help the family out of a jam.
Mimi’s a lesbian, and her sexuality is a central plot point, since Cookie seems to be courting her business entirely through flirtation.
The ploy is ridiculous. It shouldn’t take any canoodling to see that the record label is a good investment.
What’s more, it’s disappointing for a show as sensitive and dynamic about queerness as Empire has been with Jamal to lean on lusty lesbian stereotypes.
Tomei has signed up for a multi-episode arc so hopefully this character will be defined a bit more.
But besides Tomei, we’ll also be meeting Freda (played by newcomer Bre-Z ), a young lesbian rapper who intrigues Luscious.
Bre-Z recently told Okayplayer about her role:
Between (Jamal Lyon & Freda Gatz’s character), their sexuality is not who they are. And I feel like that goes for anybody. None of your sexual likenesses are displayed in public view whether you’re with a man or a woman or the same sex. What you do in your bedroom is your business. There’s no need to make a spectacle of it, but you do have to acknowledge that it exists and treat people accordingly, and not be hateful and not a bully or taunt people because they may not walk in the same shoes as you do.”
Bre-Z’s first track for Empire is out now, called “Same Song,” which she describes as “a song about that struggle of being a young black girl… trying to pursue our dreams. All of us tend to sing the same old song. Some people don’t see no way out of that, but you got to make a way. It’s a little piece of me. I love it!”
Bisexual pop star Tiana (Serayah McNeill) and queer DJ Chicken (AzMarie Livingston) are also back this season, and Serayah teased that her character, who is now a series regular, will show more of herself, although no word on if her girlfriend will make a reappearance.
Seryah told CY Interview
We’ve seen Tiana for the crazy things she’s done. But this season I think there’s gonna be a lot more in-depth with Tiana and her feelings and maybe some more of where she comes from and just seeing her more I think will give people more of an insight on my character.”
We will wait to see how these other stories play out.
One of the surprise breakout hits of the television season has been Empire. The TV show, created by filmmaker Lee Daniels, revolves around the Lyon family: their nefarious dad Lucious, three sons (Andre, Jamal and Hakeem) and the boys’ mother, Cookie Lyon who has just been released from prison after taking the fall for the dad’s crime.
The show was praised by critics and fans alike not just for the way that it kept viewers on the edge of their seats, watching its power struggles, secrets and lies play out but also by the way that it embraced diversity.
The cast is predominantly African-American and one of its main characters – Jamal – also begins the show as a closeted gay man who struggles with the fact that his dad doesn’t accept his sexuality.
But Jamal isn’t the only one whose queerness is explored on the show as we also saw Tiana, the girlfriend of Hakeem, with her female love interest, India.
Season two of Empire beings back Tiana but it also introduces another queer woman, a billionaire venture capitalist played by (Oscar-winning actress) Marisa Tomei. She has signed up for a multi-episode arc and Empire fans are eager to see how her character will get involved in the Lyon family drama and if she’ll be romantically involved with anyone too.
Speaking to After Ellen, Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken says that
…she plays a really important role in the melodrama of Season 2. She’s a fabulous character. We’ve having loads of fun with her. But she also plays an important role in the soap, in the treachery, in the Cookie vs. Lucious and in the fate of Empire.”
And when quizzed on whether Tomei’s character is single, Chaiken gave a cryptic answer of “that remains to be seen”, though the show will make it clear that she’s gay as we learn her sexuality definitively in the season premiere. Chaiken wouldn’t say how that would be shown, but she did say that it’s “not subtle”.
Many Empire fans may also be hoping Tomei’s character gets together with Cookie Lyon. Chaiken says that the billionaire is a “womanizer” and that “she and Lucious might turn out to have similar taste in women”.
Then, when asked by AE on whether or not Cookie is interested in women, she notes that both she and Taraji P. Henson (who plays Cookie) maintain that although Lucious was the only man Cookie had ever been with, that didn’t mean that she was the only person she’d ever been with – after all, she had been in a women’s prison for 17 years.
As for Chaiken’s other show, The L Word, she also spoke to the publication about a possible reboot.
She says she would “love to [reboot the show], but we really need a compelling reason to do it” and that if it did come back “it would feature some of the original cast and a lot of new characters”.
Unfortunately, if it got greenlit, Chaiken says she wouldn’t be able to do it “right now” but that doesn’t rule it out completely forever.
So keep your fingers crossed for a return of the iconic talking, laughing, loving, breathing, and fighting group of queer women at some point in the future.
According to reports, the Empire’s producers are on the hunt for an actress to play the recurring, potentially breakout role of Betty Barz – a “moody, outspoken” teenage rapper who’ll be introduced in Season 2.
Betty, who’s also known as “Betty Gathers” and “The Queen O’ 16S” is described as African-American, “unapologetically butch,” and something of a hometown hero in her “Brownsville-Never-Ran-Never-Will, Brooklyn” neighbourhood.
Her undeniable talent has led to her winning “more rhyme battles and girls’ hearts than the best male vets on her block.”
We’re guessing “winning girls’ hearts” means the new character is a lesbian, but then again…
The character is set to be introduced in the season opener of the show titled “The Devils Are Here” and despite the fact that she’s “charismatic and witty with a street lean,” the artist’s road to fame with the titular entertainment company won’t be an easy one.
Co-created by out director Lee Daniels, the first season was lauded for shining a spotlight on a range of LGBT issues, among them child abuse, coming out, and homophobia in the world of hip-hop. But there’s always more ground to cover.
The show already features AzMarie’s (America’s Next Top Model star, partner to Raven-Symoné), who plays character is Chicken – a masculine of centre, queer woman of colour.
Chicken is best friends with Hakeem, played by Yazz the Greatest, heir apparent of the Empire throne. Chicken collaborates with Hakeem musically throughout the show and was the DJ for Hakeem’s premiere at the opening of New York’s City hottest nightclub, Leviticus, during the climax of Empire’s second episode. She is also set to be in season two.
Empire‘s Season 2 premiere is being written by executive producers Danny Strong and The L word’s Ilene Chaiken.
With Out Academy Award nominee, director Lee Daniels (‘Precious’ and ‘The Butler’), Emmy Award winner Danny Strong leading, along with show-runner Ilene Chaiken behind the project, there is a strong LGBT essence to this project.
And it has been hinted that AzMarie will be playing someone queer. Her character is named ‘Chicken’.
Empire is described as “… a sexy and powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne.”
The all-star cast includes Terrence Howard as the king of hip-hop, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett (playing Howard’s the gay son) and Gabourey Sidibe.
Empire won’t air until 2015, but we’re excited to see what this great team comes up with.
This Friday night, L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin premieres on Showtime, and here is a first look at what to expect from the 90 minute documentary from Ilene Chaiken and Magical Elves, who also produced The Real L Word.
This new documentary journeys deep into Bible Belt towns like Laurel, Gulfport and Hattiesburg to tell the stories of a dozen women, including a newly out-and-proud former pastor banished from her church, but who later regains her self-esteem by launching a program to support her local LGBTQ community. A white mother willing to accept her daughter’s black lover, if only she were a man. A couple grapples with both infertility and female-to-male gender transitioning. And a former life-long lesbian struggles to “pray the gay away,” and hopes to do the same for her openly gay son.
The new documentary, will look at what it is life like for lesbians living outside more progressive metropolitan areas in America. Where they often endure hardships, bigotry, bullying, sexism and racism while trying.
The show journeys deep into Bible Belt towns like Laurel, Gulfport and Hattiesburg to tell the stories of a dozen such women, including a newly out-and-proud former pastor banished from her church, but who later regains her self-esteem by launching a program to support her local LGBTQ community. A white mother would accept her daughter’s black lover, if only she were a man. A couple grapples with both infertility and female-to-male gender transitioning. And a former life-long lesbian struggles to “pray the gay away,” and hopes to do the same for her openly gay son.
The new documentary Sin is a continuation of Chaiken’s exploration of modern-day lesbian life. Her groundbreaking drama series ‘The L Word’ ran for 6 seasons on Showtime, which was then followed by 3 seasons of reality show ‘The Real L Word’ that followed a similar group of lesbians at work and at play in LA and NY.
The L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin premieres on August 8. Take a closer look at the kinds of things will happen.
The Showtime announced Wednesday that it will debut L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin, a documentary from series creator Ilene Chaiken, in August. The L Word Mississippi will be a 90-minute documentary that unites Chaiken with Real L Word executive producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz’s Magical Elves.
Directed by Emmy nominee Lauren Lazin, the new show will explore the daily struggles of a group of Southern lesbians. Chaiken and the Elves will visit Bible Belt towns like Laurel, Gulfport and Hattiesburg to tell the stories of a dozen women, including a newly out-and-proud former pastor banished from her church who later regains her self-esteem by launching a program to support her local LGBTQ community; a white mother who would accept her daughter’s black lover, if only she were a man; a couple who grapples with both infertility and female-to-male gender transitioning; and a former life-long lesbian who struggles to “pray the gay away” and hopes to do the same for her openly gay son.
After The Real L Word was canceled last year, Showtime said they weren’t completely done with the L Word brand and that, instead, they’d put together a documentary about identifying as lesbian in a small town community.
“I’ve been talking a lot with Dan, Jane and Ilene about exploring L Word culture – lesbian culture in places not New York, L.A. – where the subculture is not so defined and it’s not so easy. I think we’re likely to make a documentary that will feel like a Real L Word documentary,”
David Nevins, Showtime Entertainment President
L Word Mississippi will premiere Aug. 8 at 9 p.m. on Showtime. The news comes a day after Showtime announced it would air the entire series runs of Queer as Folk and The L Word to celebrate Gay Pride Month in June. Chaiken, meanwhile, will segue from showrunning ABC’s The Black Box to Fox’s hip-hop drama Empire.
From a press release:
What is life like for lesbians living outside more progressive metropolitan areas in America today where gay women endure hardships, bigotry, bullying, sexism and racism while trying to live among their predominantly straight neighbors? Chaiken and the Elves journey deep into Bible Belt towns like Laurel, Gulfport and Hattiesburg to tell the stories of a dozen such women, including a newly out-and-proud former pastor banished from her church, but who later regains her self-esteem by launching a program to support her local LGBTQ community. A white mother would accept her daughter’s black lover, if only she were a man. A couple grapples with both infertility and female-to-male gender transitioning. And a former life-long lesbian struggles to “pray the gay away,” and hopes to do the same for her openly gay son.
…Against the backdrop of the burgeoning gender and marriage equality debate, L WORD MISSISSIPPI: HATE THE SIN spotlights those loving, living, working, parenting and forcing change from within places where entrenched, conservative values have resisted the progress the LGBTQ community has worked hard to achieve elsewhere.
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