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Tickled Pink, premiering on June 1, 2005 only on TV Land!

(Posted May 11, 2005 by Stephen Strong)


One-Hour Special Examines How Gay Americans Have Created and Viewed Television

Kelsey Grammer, Sandra Bernhard, Bruce Vilanch, Marc Cherry, Carson Kressley, Rue McClanahan, Mario Cantone and Others Featured

Santa Monica, CA, May 12, 2005 - From Maude and The Golden Girls to Xena, The Warrior Princess and Will & Grace, certain television shows throughout the last forty years have strayed from the straight and narrow and given a wink to Gay America. TV Land takes an in-depth look at celebrated television personalities and characters that gay viewers have either gravitated towards or closely identified with in Inside TV Land:

Tickled Pink, premiering on June 1, 2005 at 11 p.m.

ET/PT. Notables Kelsey Grammer, Marc Cherry, Sandra Bernhard, Diahann Carroll, Rue McClanahan, Mario Cantone, Carson Kressley, Judy Gold and others are featured in interviews and discuss why gay viewers have always been drawn to TV shows where camp and comedy are celebrated.

Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink is produced for TV Land by Linda Ellerbee's Lucky Duck Productions. Sal Maniaci, Vice President, Development and Production, TV Land & Nick at Nite, serves as Executive Producer.

"Several TV shows and characters that the country has embraced -- from "Uncle Arthur" on Bewitched to the ladies of Sex & the City -- have also meant a great deal to gay Americans" states Larry W. Jones, President, TV Land and Nick at Nite. "TV Land is thrilled to provide our viewers with this in-depth look at how gay Americans have had their own way of watching and creating classic comedy."

Throughout this 60-minute journey, TV Land takes a look at how various characters and series became "homosensational." From female characters in sitcoms such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, The Golden Girls and Designing Women, gays took solace in the independence of women who dared to define the rigid roles of the time. The gay community saw these characters as strong, independent and outrageous, and the bond with their friends resonated with their own lives. The TV landscape continued to evolve as characters like Tony Randall's portrayal of "Felix" in The Odd Couple and Paul Lynde's "Uncle Arthur" on Bewitched strayed slightly from the straight and narrow. Even the dynamic duos Kate & Allie and Batman with "Robin" resonated with gay Americans. In the 1990's, as gay visibility began to increase, sitcoms like Friends, Ellen and even The Simpsons had more and more fun playing on their audience's new awareness of all things gay. Xena, Warrior Princess was hugely popular with lesbians as they looked to her as someone who was strong on the outside but also sensitive and loving and they began to play up her relationship with her best friend. This original special examines how gays embraced the aesthetic of many of these shows, making them more visible for others to be "Tickled Pink."

Among the watershed television shows, characters and moments discussed in the special are:

* Paul Lynde of Bewitched does not suppress his sexual orientation and uses double entendres on Hollywood Squares to push the envelope.

* The series Maude stars Bea Arthur as a tough, outspoken woman, a rarity in TV at the time.

* For her television series, Cher wins over fans with her extravagant ensembles created by gay icon Bob Mackie. Her outlandish appeal taps a primal urge in countless gay men.

* Gays are drawn to TV's crime-fighting dynamic duos like "Ponch" and "John" on Chips, Starsky and Hutch and "Batman" and "Robin."

* The Golden Girls is embraced by homosexuals for its gay sensibility and how the characters' friends ultimately become their family.

* The outrageousness of the characters on Designing Women, particularly "Suzanne Sugarbaker," resonates with the gay community.

* Shows like Laverne and Shirley, Kate & Allie and

Cagney & Lacey appeal to lesbians because of the strong bond between women. This was the closest thing there was at that point to any sort of representation of a lesbian relationship.

* Gays identified with characters like "Samantha" on Bewitched, "Diane Prince" on Wonder Woman and "Buffy" from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer because these women struggled with revealing their personal secrets.

* Dynasty is filled with strong women who were unapologetic and bitchy - one of the campiest shows on television.

* The revelation of Ellen DeGeneres on her sitcom,

and in real life, that she was gay changed the TV landscape and was a huge step forward for homosexuality on television. In the years before DeGeneres and her gay character came out, some of the funniest moments on Ellen came from winks to viewers indicating her true orientation.

* Gays and lesbians embraced "Xena" and respected her strength. In addition, her relationship with her best friend was filled with innuendo which creators had fun implementing into the storylines.

* Sex and the City is filled with bawdy humor and puts female friendships first.

* Sassy diva "Karen" on Will & Grace is embraced by gay males for just being fabulous.

Lucky Duck Productions is an award-winning and critically acclaimed television production company renowned for producing primetime specials, documentaries, limited-run series and children's programming for network and cable television. The company is owned and operated by journalist, producer and author, Linda Ellerbee and Rolfe Tessem.

Source: TV Land Press Release

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