An NBC affiliate television station in Salt Lake City, Utah has refused to air a comedy series about a gay couple using a surrogate to have a baby.
Mormon-church owned KSL-TV will not air The New Normal when it premieres in September as it deemed the series ‘inappropriate’ for family viewing.
It is a move that has enraged the show’s stars and LGBT activists, who labeled the decision ‘homophobic’ and ‘dangerous’.
It is the second consecutive year the station has chosen not to air one of NBC’s new series.
Last year it rejected racy show The Playboy Club, about Playboy Bunnies working in the original Chicago club in the 1960s. The Playboy and KSL brands were not a good fit, the channel concluded.
The New Normal stars Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha as a happy Los Angeles couple. Desiring a family, they have a baby through a surrogate, who moves in with them.
‘After viewing the pilot episode of The New Normal, we have made the decision to keep it off our fall schedule,’ Jeff Simpson, CEO of KSL’s parent company Bonneville International, said in a statement.
‘For our brand, this program simply feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time.’
Speaking with The Salt Lake Tribune, he added: ‘From time to time we may struggle with content that crosses the line in one area or another. The dialog might be excessively rude and crude. The scenes may be too explicit or the characterizations might seem offensive.’
Ellen Barkin, who plays the surrogate’s homophobic mother, attacked the decision on her Twitter page, calling on her followers to complain to the channel.
‘Anyone in Utah interested in @NBCTheNewNormal please clog up @ksl5tv feed 4 their blatantly homophic [sic] decision 2 not air the show #KSLBigots,’ she wrote.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also launched an attack on the station, calling its decision ‘ant-gay and outdated’.
‘Same-sex families are a beloved part of American television thanks to shows like Modern Family, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy,’ GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement.
‘While audiences, critics and advertisers have all supported LGBT stories, KSL is demonstrating how deeply out of touch it is with the rest of the country.’
He went on: ‘We invite Jeff Simpson to sit down with GLAAD and local LGBT families. We know that if he would, he would see that not only are our families normal, but by citing ‘crude and rude’ content and refusing to affirm LGBT families, KSL and Mr. Simpson are sending a dangerous message to Utah. They should make that right.’
The decision came after the conservative group, One Million Moms, expressed its distaste for the show and demanded a protest.
‘Millions of Americans strongly believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman,’ the group said in a statement on its website.
‘The New Normal is attempting to desensitize America and our children. It is the opposite of how families are designed and created. You cannot recreate the biological wheel.’
But show co-creator Ryan Murphy responded that the group should give the show a chance as Barkin’s character is a member of the group in the show.
Salt Lake City’s station, KUCW, will air The New Normal instead when it premieres on September 11.
The channel also airs Saturday Night Live – which KSL does not – and airs sports when KSL covers the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.