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(Clockwise from top left) Gay contestant Jonathan Silva dances with him mom, Rodilyn Woolridge, on Lifetime’s ‘Your Mama Don’t Dance.’ (Photo by F. Scott Schafer/Bravo); ‘Queer Eye’s’ Ted Allen returns to Bravo this spring as a judge on ‘Top Chef: Chicago.’ (Photo by Danny Feld/Lifetime); Gay-friendly comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U' Know recall Canadian comedians Kids In The Hall. (Photo by Scott Pasfield)

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ZACK ROSEN


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TELEVISION

Springtime blossoms
TV returns to its regularly scheduled programming after strike

ZACK ROSEN
Friday, March 07, 2008

Like a sumptuous feast set in front of a starving man, the end of the Writers Guild strike means that all of America’s favorite scripted TV shows will once again be available for our wanton viewing. Though television aficionados have spent months with only a partial lineup to keep them satisfied, a host of new and returning shows will help them make up for lost time this spring.

Beginning on Monday, March 24, cable station ABC Family will air 12 new episodes of its show “Greek,” which portrays the inner workings of a college fraternity. “Greek’s” gay character, Calvin, struggled to keep his sexuality a secret throughout the show’s first episodes, but is outed by his best friend and has to adjust to life as a gay frat boy.

Gay-inclusive ABC drama “Brothers & Sisters” returns to the air on Sunday, April 20, with the first of four original episodes. An attractive cast, including Rob Lowe, Calista Flockhart and Balthazar Getty, makes up the members and associates of the Walker family, who have to save their business and preserve a friendly dynamic after the death of the family patriarch. Gay Walker sibling Kevin, played by Matthew Rhys, who had previously counted “Sex and the City’s” Jason Lewis as his onscreen love interest, will be back.

THE ALWAYS HOMO-FRIENDLY reality-show universe doesn’t disappoint this spring.

Lifetime’s “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” an “American Idol-”style performance show that teams professional dancers with their parents, features three out contestants. In a decision that will surely lead to some awkward moments around the dinner table, Silvano Merendi will be dancing with his daughter, Dante Puleio will take the stage with his step-mother and Jonathan Silva will appear with his mom. The show began airing on Feb. 29.

Though “Project Runway’s” season is coming to an end, Bravo’s other addictive competition will begin anew when “Top Chef: Chicago” premieres on Wednesday, March 12. Seasons past have included a bevy of queer contestants and this one will be no different. Lesbian contestants are part of the lineup and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s” Ted Allen will be a judge.

Sci-fi fans can rejoice that Battlestar Galactica, and hot lesbian character Gina, will return to the air on Friday, April 4, with the premiere episode of season four. That episode finds one character, Starbuck, back from the dead and the rest of the ship’s crew struggling to understand how this could be possible.

On the lighter side of TV, sketch comedy lovers can rejoice that one of the genre’s best and most unusual troupes is returning to TV. “Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat” finds Amy Poehler and company back on Comedy Central on Friday, March 21. The one-off special, a televised version of their New York City live performance, shows off the group’s improv skills and comic sensibilities.

More in line with much-missed gay sketch show “Kids in the Hall” is IFC’s “The Whitest Kids U’ Know,” already underway. Now in their second season, the five cute straight boys specialize in the kind of deadpan absurdist humor that would make Dave Foley proud. Plus, they like to dress in drag and their upcoming parody song,  “Totally Gay For America,” points out the stupidity of the country’s gay marriage laws.

THE MOST OVERTLY gay content can still be found on queer TV stalwarts Here! and Logo. Logo is breaking new ground with its dating show “Transamerican Love Story.” Refreshing for its lack of sensationalism, “Transamerican” is an elimination dating show starring transgender woman Calpernia Addams, who chooses one of eight suitors to be her main man.

Here! also has fun new releases to complement the breezy spring weather. “The Ben and Dave Show” is a talk show with two openly gay hosts, the eponymous Ben Harvey and Dave Rubin. Starting on March 14, they will deal with topics like Craigslist ads and celebrities who need to come out. The format will reflect Harvey’s years as a radio personality and Rubin’s experience performing in virtually every New York comedy club.

A pair of interesting documentaries round out the spring TV season on Cinemax. “Freeheld” follows the difficulties that dying New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester had in transferring her pension to partner Stacie Andree. The film picked up an Academy Award this year for Best Documentary Short and illuminates the legal battles that gays and lesbians fight every day.

On the lighter side is “When I Knew,” a documentary about the moments when people realized that they were gay. Based on a popular book of the same name by Robert Trachtenberg, the film features a number of men and women talking about when they knew they were different from everyone else. Utilizing vintage photographs and home movies, the documentary is sure to ring a bell with any viewer who still remembers “the moment” when being gay became a reality.

Both films air in June.

 

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