Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (July 27, 2007)

We actually lost a network gay character this week: The lesbian cheerleader on NBC’s Heroes has vanished in a puff of unsatisfactory explanations. As Malinda reported from the Television Critics Association press tour, Lyndsy Fonseca, who was set to play April the gay cheerleader, has moved on to other things. Un-heroic, un-gay things.

An NBC spokesperson made this statement in response to our request for more information: “Lyndsy Fonseca was a guest star in an episode of Heroes, playing a cheerleader. She was cast in another series and wasn’t able to continue with Heroes. Our show embraces and has showcased diversity in a variety of ways and will continue to do so.”

Yeah, that clears it all up. As AfterEllen.com reader Samfeasor said on the blog, “I remember when science fiction used to be groundbreaking.” And I remember when spokespeople used to be information-conveying.

So let’s do the math for the fall TV season: That’s four out actresses (Jones, Burrows, de Rossi, plus Rosie O’Donnell returning to Nip/Tuck) plus one lesbian/bi businesswoman (Cashmere Mafia, see below) minus one diversity-showcasing cheerleader (Heroes), for a total of better than nothing.

DOES TCA STAND FOR “TANTALIZING, COQUETTISH ANSWERS”?

The Television Critics Association press tour wasn’t all bad news: In Sarah’s live blogs from the TCA, she captured the good stuff, and some of it was downright flirty. Angie Harmon‘s new show on ABC, Women’s Murder Club, doesn’t feature any lesbian characters, but Harmon joked that there’s “lots of sexual tension” among the (all-female) cast.

Later, Harmon had some tension of her own with Bonnie Somerville (whose Cashmere Mafia character, Caitlin, has a relationship with Alicia, played by Lourdes Benedicto). Malinda had just finished interviewing Bonnie and had asked her who her character would hook up with if there were a Cashmere Mafia–L Word crossover. We’ll save her answer to that one for the interview, but Bonnie then told Angie, who was passing by, that she’d happily hook up with her (oh, to have been a fly on the wall at that moment!).

I have no idea what’s actually going on in these photos from the TCA conference, but I like to think Bonnie is asking, “Well, whaddya say?” and Angie is amused yet amenable.

It seems that Bonnie, who recently shot a movie with Sarah Shahi, takes her lesbian street cred very seriously:

Malinda: Is there anything you want to say to the queer women who are going to watch [Cashmere Mafia]?

Bonnie: That I think I should be in the [AfterEllen.com Hot 100] top five and bump Sarah Shahi out next year.

Keep up the coy commentary, Bonnie, and you probably will!

Meanwhile, Kevin Wade, the creator of Cashmere Mafia, told reporters those three little words every lesbian wants to hear: that it “wouldn’t be realistic” if there were no lesbian or bisexual character in the cast of high-powered New York businesswomen. (You mean lesbians and bisexual women are, like, real people you just might encounter in the course of doing business? Kevin, where have you been all our lives?!) Oh, scratch that: It was Kevin’s businesswoman friend who said that. Kevin’s friend, where have you been all our lives?! And do you have Bonnie Somerville’s phone number?

Wade also told Malinda that Lourdes Benedicto’s character, Alicia, is going to be on the show for at least the first half-dozen episodes. The series doesn’t start shooting until next month, but he’s in the middle of writing the fifth and sixth episodes, and he said that Alicia’s still in the running to be Caitlin’s next top — oh, oops! Wrong show.

Read Sarah’s blogs for more TCA tidbits and lovely photos of flirty straight celebrities clamoring for a spot on the AfterEllen.com Hot 100.

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