AfterEllen.com’s Fall 2008 TV Preview

 
 

NBC

NBC has not had a regular lesbian/bisexual character in its prime-time lineup since Dr. Kerry Weaver left ER in January 2007, and this season may not be any different, depending on how the producers of Knight Rider view the character of FBI agent Carrie Rivai. She was suggested to be lesbian or bisexual during the February 2008 two-hour TV movie, but in July producers seemed unwilling to confirm that she is lesbian or bisexual, suggesting that her character might be de-gayed.

Lesbian/Bi Characters, Story Lines and Actors

Knight Rider
Premiere: Sept. 24, 8 p.m.

This remake of the 1980s television series was launched as a two-hour movie last winter, and the character of FBI agent Carrie Rivai (Sidney Tamiia Poitier) was introduced with a scene that strongly implied that she is lesbian or bisexual. In July, however, executive producer Gary Scott Thompson, who was brought on board after the two-hour movie, would not confirm that Rivai is lesbian or bisexual. Executive producer Dave Bartis, who had worked on the movie, did state that his preference was for Rivai to be bisexual, and Poitier said, "Hopefully it’s something that they will keep."

Sidney Tamiia Poitier

Photo credit: NBC/

Byron Cohen

Thompson, however, has been given "carte blanche" with the series, according to executive producer Doug Liman, "to not be limited" by the two-hour movie. Although the entire season had not yet been mapped out at the time he spoke with AfterEllen.com, it was clear that Rivai’s sexual orientation had not been addressed yet. On the other hand, he did say that he felt that KITT — the car — might be gay.

It remains to be seen whether a talking car can actually have a sexual orientation, and whether Rivai will suddenly become straight.

ER
Premiere: Sept. 25, 10 p.m.

Angela Bassett will join the cast of ER for its 15th and final season, playing the new chief of the E.R. Former E.R. chief Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes), who came out during Season 7, may return to the series in a guest appearance. "I think it’ll probably happen," said executive producer John Wells in July.

My Own Worst Enemy
Premiere: Oct. 13, 10 p.m.

This new series is a modern-day twist on Jekyll and Hyde, with Christian Slater playing a mild-mannered family man who doesn’t know he’s a deadly government operative as well. Out actor Saffron Burrows plays his psychiatrist, who knows about both of his personalities.

Christian Slater (left) and Burrows in My Own Worst Enemy

Other NBC Shows of Interest

Chuck
Premiere: Sept. 29, 8 p.m.

In Season 2 of Josh Schwartz’s (The O.C., Gossip Girl) comedic thriller about a guy who has the top secret contents of a government computer downloaded into his brain, Jordana Brewster (D.E.B.S.) joins the cast for several episodes as the title character’s college sweetheart. "She broke his heart, she dumped him when he was in college," Schwartz said. "He spiraled out of the life that he was supposed to have and now he works [at the Buy More], and now he’s always dreamt about the opportunity to face her again and get her back. … She’s brilliant, and she’s beautiful, and she’s cool."

Life
Premiere: Oct. 10, 10 p.m.; Previews Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 10 p.m.

Sarah Shahi (The L Word) stars as Det. Dani Reese, partner to Det. Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis), in this crime drama about a cop (Crews) who gained a Buddhist perspective while serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. In a somewhat confusing effort to drive new viewers to the show, Season 2 will "preview" two episodes after Heroes on Sept. 29 and Oct. 6 before moving to its regular time slot of Friday nights on Oct. 10.

Sarah Shahi

Photo credit: NBC/Mitchell Haaseth

30 Rock
Premiere: Oct. 30, 9 p.m.

Very little information about the third season of the award-winning yet ratings-challenged comedy is available, other than the fact that 22 episodes have been ordered. Tina Fey, of course, will reprise her role as the quirky yet relatable Liz Lemon.

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