“One Big Happy” and “Marry Me” cancelled, ABC passes on “Family Fortune”

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As networks are gearing up for a new season of primetime TV, new shows are being given the go-ahead and others that have been one for one season or even several have been shut down. Today we learned the fate of both pilots and existing series with lesbian characters and the news is not good.

NBC has cancelled One Big Happy after six episodes. The Ellen DeGeneres-produced, Liz Feldman-created series was the first ever primetime network sitcom to have a major lesbian character at its center. NBC also axed Marry Me, which had Kay, a regular black lesbian character played by Tymberlee Hill.

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ABC did not pick up Fortune Feimster‘s pilot, Family Fortune, which was developed with Tina Fey. Deadline surmised it was too much alike another coming out-themed series that the network chose instead: The Real O’Neals, which was originally based on advice columnist and It Gets Better creator Dan Savage‘s life. (It has been retooled since then.)

Fox cancelled The Mindy Project, which means no more Dr. Jean Fishman. Empire and Gotham will be returning.

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In better news, Jane Lynch‘s new series, Angel From Hell, was given a series order from CBS: “When Amy (Jane Lynch) enters Allison’s life and claims to be her guardian angel, they form an unlikely friendship and Allison can’t be sure if Amy is an angel or just nuts.” Maggie Lawson co-stars as Allison, but it’s unclear as to if there’s anything queer about the show.

Out producer/writer Ali Adler‘s Supergirl is going to series at at CBS, which we will definitely be tuning in for.

At ABC, Agent Carter has been renewed for a second season as has Black-ish (which promises more Raven-Symone as Dre’s gay sister, Rhonda) and out showrunner Nahnatchka Khan‘s Fresh Off the Boat.

It’s rumored that NBC’s Chicago Med will include a major lesbian character, but has yet to be confirmed. The Dick Wolf show is yet another spin-off from Chicago Fire, which we’ve been burned by the series before. 

It’s not been a great day for lesbian/bi visibility in terms of pick-ups, as we’re losing more than we seem to have gained. Hopefully there are more storylines and characters in the works on both new and existing shows, as we have lost a lot already with the series finales of network shows like Glee and Parenthood and the departure of Kalinda on The Good Wife.

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Hopefully Family Fortune will find a home at another network, and executives won’t see One Big Happy as the one and only shot to have a lesbian lead on primetime. It did well, just not well enough, and it’s a numbers game. Sadly, Fortune’s pilot (which, by all accounts that I’ve heard, was hilarious and well-done all around) was up against a too-similar show, which is the network’s own fault for setting them up that way to only decide one coming out story is enough, if that truly is the case.

What’s frustrating, though, is we’ve seen coming out stories about men on television way more than we have for women, especially women like Fortune’s. Her character was a Southern gym teacher who realized she was gay well into her twenties. We don’t often see women who look or sound like Fortune on TV, and it is truly a bummer we won’t get that chance. 

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