Luke MacFarland. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Deep Inside Hollywood: The Night Shift, Tyra presents TransAmerica

By Romeo San Vicente

Physician, heal thy closeted self

A new doctor show is coming to television. Yes, yes, we know, there's always a new doctor show coming to television. But "The Night Shift," premiering May 27 on NBC, has a new wrinkle in its ongoing story line: a closeted doctor. The series revolves around a San Antonio hospital and its night staff, which includes Brendan Fehr (former '90s teen heartthrob from the show "Roswell," remember?) as a young veteran of the war in Afghanistan, now a doctor with a big gay secret. Meanwhile his character's boyfriend is still on active duty in Afghanistan but coming home to stay, which will put a dent in that closet door. Luke MacFarlane, "Brothers & Sisters" star and openly gay actor, will play that handsome soldier. If this narrative seems a touch dated now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is well over and marriage equality is quickly coming to pretty much every state in the union, so be it. We trust TV to make us care about hot dudes no matter what sort of contrived problems and angst they deal with. We'll be watching.

Tyra Banks presents 'TransAmerica'

We're entering a significant moment in the push forward for awareness and equal rights for the "T" members of the LGBT community. A new wave of transgender awareness, activism and media presence is opening eyes and minds every day. And now Tyra Banks will lend her name and media clout to a docuseries about trans women. Alongside producing partner Gay Rosenthal, Banks will bring "TransAmerica" (the current working title) to VH1. The eight-part reality series will follow the lives of a group of women in Chicago united by the experience of being transgender. A graduate student, a cosmetics consultant, a medical student, a club kid and a model (look, it's still Tyra's show) will open up their lives to the cameras for a look at the variety of life directions taken the cast as they progress through transitioning and beyond. The show is scheduled to air in late 2014/early 2015. And will the trans man show be far behind?

Don't rain on Lea Michele's parade

You probably don't watch "Glee" anymore, but if you were you'd know that, according to the show, Lea Michele's character Rachel is burning up Broadway in a revival of "Funny Girl" and making Barbra Streisand weep tears of joy. Here's another thing you might not know: "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy owns the rights to "Funny Girl." And power-players like Murphy don't just snap up rights to stuff like that for kicks. He wants to make that revival happen. He's said as much recently in the press. And he's got his star. Of course, that pesky day job of creating a musical TV show will have to run its course - happening soon enough, thanks to "Glee"'s final season coming round the bend - and there'll need to be suitable arrangements made for director and co-stars. But considering that Michele's non-TV work so far has been a horrible Garry Marshall movie ("New Year's Eve") and a horrible children's cartoon ("Legends of Oz") and the unconfirmed rumor of a starring role in the film version of "Wicked," she should be gunning for this opportunity with everything she's got. Broadway loves you, Lea Michele; come back and grab yourself a Tony.

'One Big Happy' (Ending) for Elisha Cuthbert

When the criminally underrated and underwatched "Happy Endings" was cancelled, we wept and we cursed. We hoped we'd see the hilarious cast again soon, somewhere just as good (OK, almost just as good, whatever). Well, co-star Elisha Cuthbert has landed herself a job at Power Lesbian, Inc., starring on the new NBC series "One Big Happy." Ellen DeGeneres executive produces the series, created by "2 Broke Girls" writer Liz Feldman and the premise involves a lesbian (Cuthbert) planning to have a baby with a straight male friend (Nick Zano). Relationship complications ensue, both the hetero and homo varieties. It's the third LGBT-themed sitcom NBC has offered audiences ("Sean Saves The World" and "The New Normal" came first), which means they're committed to making at least one of them stick. Third times a charm and all that - and the second show for Cuthbert with the word "happy" in the title. That has to be a good sign, right? Either way, we're rooting for this one.

Romeo San Vicente has all the stuff you like. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.
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Special Section: Pride Source Votes
Revealing Bigotry: Taking On Gary Glenn

In a Sept. 27 op-ed in the Detroit News, conservative Republican columnist Nolan Finley raised serious concerns about three Republican candidates running for the state house Nov. 4. Todd Courser of Lapeer, Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell and Gary Glenn of Midland -- all correctly identified by Finley as a "trio (who) seeks tea party tyranny." Nolan describes Glenn and Courser as "extremely anti-gay (who) would turn the Republican Party into a fundamentalist denomination of the Christian Church if given the chance." Finley warned that the trio's narrow views on the Legislature could cripple the government and its ability to work across the aisle to move the state forward. Their agenda also includes killing any expansion of the Elliot-Larsen act to include LGBT protections.

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