Will Ellen DeGeneres' new show be all about lesbians?
With her new show, Ellen DeGeneres isn't planning to put sexual identity issues front and center.
In fact, even though the new comedy she's executive producing for NBC, One Big Happy, does feature a lesbian character, Ellen wants viewers to know one thing: This isn't a show about lesbians.
Sure, the lesbian character is central to the plot (the show follows her as she has a baby with her straight best friend). But according to Ellen, the goal is simply to make people laugh.
"It just happens to be a very funny show. It happens to have a lesbian character in it," Ellen told People magazine. "It's not like I formed a production company and said, 'Bring me all your lesbian scripts.' I'm not just going to be a lesbian machine that just turns out stuff."
Ellen has always been on the forefront of the gay rights movement on TV. She made history in 1997, when her character on the ABC comedy Ellen came out as a lesbian. But this time, she's stepping back from activism and just going for good TV.
"That's all I wanted to do was put out really funny material [that's] smart and thought-provoking," she said. "If this is thought-provoking and helps people open their minds a little bit and see a multiracial couple, to see a lesbian character and to see a guy who is her best friend that has a relationship, that's a whole other story... They're just going to be people that you love and watch and don't think twice about any of it being weird. It's just friendship or family or whatever that is. I think friendship is obvious, but family is not so obvious. Family changes all the time."
According to People, One Big Happy stars Elisha Cuthbert and Nick Zano as lifelong best friends who decide to have a child together because they haven't yet found love. The sitcom is written by Liz Feldman, who, People reports, also wrote for Ellen.
"It's not coming from any sort of agenda — what can we do to put another lesbian on that television? It's coming from the truth," said Feldman, who is also gay. "I set out to be honest and tell an authentic story that felt really true to me because it's based on my relationship with my straight best friend. We were planning on having a baby together. We've been friends our whole lives, and then he met the love of his life and that changed the course of our lives. Honestly, it was so difficult to deal with it when it happened, the only thing I knew how to do was write something about it. So that's where this comes from. This comes from a real place."