Networks celebrate June with a bountiful lineup of shows for the queer and queer-at-heart
by Nancy Ford
Given the avalanche of parades, parties, and other assorted Pride-related activities scheduled this month, one would think that staying home and watching television would not be a priority for most out-and-prouders. One would be wrong.
Prideful couch potatoes are treated to a full roster of LGBT-influenced programming throughout June, with one of our favorite small-screen legends leading the pack.
Believed by some to have been robbed of a championship medal due to his flamboyance (which, frankly, we thought was a requirement of the sport), Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir embarks upon the next phase of his career with a bonus episode of Be Good Johnny Weir. The episode goes behind the scenes of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. June 27, 8 p.m. Sundance Channel (sundance channel.com).
The Real L Word follows the real-life adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of six Los Angeles-based lesbians, with all of the accompanying “crying, screaming, cursing, and drama,” warns one of the principals. Ilene Chaiken, who brought us the show’s fictionalized precursor, The L Word, produces. June 20, 9 p.m. Showtime (sho.com).
In something of a 21st-century version of The Golden Girls, Betty White leads a big-name ensemble cast in Hot in Cleveland. The series focuses on middle-aged L.A. hotties played by Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, and Jane Leeves who, after being accidentally stranded in Cleveland, decide to stay. Tossing in a gay spin (as if White’s contribution doesn’t already make the series gay by proxy) is the show’s producer: the recently self-outed Sean Hayes. June 16, 9 p.m. TV Land (tvland.com).
Offering a gay perspective on the U.K.’s familiar working-class hero theme, Beautiful People returns for a second season. Six new episodes, inspired by the formative years of style guru Simon Doonan, feature Olivia Coleman, Meera Syal, Aidan McArdle, and Samuel Barnett. June 12, 9 p.m. Logo (logotv.com).
The third annual NewNowNext Awards also return on Logo, with the hysterical Niecy Nash and handsome Cheyenne Jackson hosting and introducing performances by musicians Little Boots, Agnes, and Dan Black. June 17, 9 p.m. Logo (logotv.com).
Reality television invades the world of art with Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, an elimination series pitting 14 artists against each other in pursuit of a solo show at a big-name museum. One of our favorite not-so-still-lifes, Sarah Jessica Parker, among others, executive-produces. June 9, 10 p.m. Bravo (bravotv.com).
In Double Exposure, the focus is on high fashion and celebrity photography. Industry pacesetters Marcus Klinko and Indrani lead viewers through the high-pressure world of 18-hour days and relentless deadlines. Beware of flying cell phones. June 15, 9 p.m. Bravo (bravotv.com).
Bravo rounds out its gay programming with Top Chef: Washington D.C., the culinary competition’s seventh season. Among the 17 toque-wearers, LGBT contestants Tracey Bloom and Arnold Myint whip up tasty morsels for power players like Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and others. June 16, 8 p.m. Bravo (bravotv.com).
Monday is MonGay with three U.S. television premieres occupying the Sundance Channel’s airwaves. Pageant(June 7, 7 p.m.) goes behind the scenes of the 34th annual Miss Gay America where 52 men, sans benefit of hormones or surgery, vie for the crown and glory. In the autobiographical documentary Prodigal Sons (June 21, 7 p.m.), trans filmmaker Kimberley Reed tells the tale of Reed, a transgender woman; Todd, her gay brother; and Marc, their adopted brother, who reconnect in Montana under unusual circumstances. And the early 1960s found two New York City lesbians falling in love and vowing to eventually wed. Half a century later, Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdotteir document the couples’ struggle and happy ending in Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (June 28, 7 p.m.).
Ovation kicks off its new LGBT-focused “Art Out Loud” series on June 20 with, appropriately enough, the U.S. premiere of the trailblazing U.K. television series Queer as Folk. This is the original Brit version of the soap opera-ish tale of “the loves, the successes, the nightlife, the dramas, and the hardships that gay men face.” Also featured in Ovation’s new Sunday series is Follow My Voice: With the Music of Hedwig on June 27. In it, filmmaker Katherine Linton mixes student video diaries with in-studio recording sessions featuring luminaries including Yoko Ono, Rufus Wainwright, Cyndi Lauper, Jonathan Richman, Sleater-Kinney, and They Might Be Giants. Ovation (ovationtv.com).
City slickers Josh and Brent were formerly an exec for Martha Stewart and an author/drag queen, respectively. In The Fabulous Beekman Boys, the couple says, “Keep Manhattan, just give that countryside” a docu-series produced by World of Wonders’ Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. June 16, 8 p.m. Planet Green (planetgreen.discovery.com).
And finally, the season finale (is that redundant?) of that senior citizen reality show Sunset Daze finds Gail out on the town with her son, Cary, and his partner, George, as other residents of the retirement community plan a prom. June 23, 9 p.m. WE TV (wetv.com).