Viktor Kerney

10 Things Logo TV Can Do to Be a Better LGBT Network

Filed By Viktor Kerney | August 10, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: gay television, LGBT TV, LOGO, Rachel Maddow, reality shows, The A-List

logotelevision.gifThis summer, LOGO promotes their god-awful second season of The A-List New York. And while some people are excited to see this reality show, it hit me... Wasn't this supposed to be a groundbreaking network?

In 2005 I remember marching in NYC Pride and I saw LOGO's crew promoting the upcoming channel. I was so excited and hopeful for our first network showcasing the LGBT community. I was thinking of all the TV series, movies, and personalities we could possibility see.

Now fast forward to six years later and, well - let's just say, I'm not really pleased.

However, I still have hope for the network. I think they can still turn it around and become a great LGBT channel. There is so much potential for the producers, writers, and directors to take LOGO to the next level. So to be a good gay with situations, I will offer my suggestions on how this network could be "must-see" TV.

  1. 1. Bring back the news segments: It would be great if they had a Rachel Maddow, Tavis Smiley or even a gay Glenn Beck hosting news sections. Something that will inform our community about politics, health and living.
  2. 2. Produce scripted shows: With many networks creating exciting and fascinating television, why can't LOGO do the same? Or why can't Viacom give them the push and financial backing they need? As one of the two LGBT networks, LOGO should provide quality TV that presents strong representation of our community.
  3. 3. Develop a serious television talk show: Something like The View or Oprah. The host or hosts should come from different backgrounds and represent different viewpoints.
  4. 4. Stop Relying on British TV: Stop broadcasting their TV leftovers. Instead, create new innovated television shows.
  5. 5. Get better reality shows: Ones that highlight the everyday gays and positive LGBT accomplishments.
  6. 6. Ditch The A-List: And don't develop any new one, of any kind.
  7. 7. Get an Awards Show: One that honors actual gay people and their contributions to the cause!
  8. 8. Host special election town hall events: The 2012 elections are coming up, and it would be nice to have our own town hall discussions with presidential candidates.
  9. 9. Make a Gay Unplugged series: One that features up and coming LGBT musicians
  10. 10. Implement TV movies: Ones made by LGBT writers, producers and directors.

If y'all have anything to add please do so in the comments.

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Excellent list. My partner and I begrudgingly watched the first season of The A List. It was sort of addictive, but in a bad way. This season's shows sit unwatched on the TiVo.

To be blunt, LOGO is a joke, and a bad one at that. It's MTV for Queer youth and is exactly as vapid and lacking in substance as that comparison implies. Frankly, I gave up on LOGO years ago and see no reason to waste my time with it when the content available online is so far superior to anything shown on that channel these days.

What we need is something a lot closer to to what MSNBC is for six-figure liberals (as opposed to average lower and middle-class working folks) than that tripe they show now. It's really a shame that a channel that could utilize the resources of CBS News to create a truly useful and worthwhile LGBT-relevant information source has failed so utterly on that score and instead is now content to just push pablum like the rest of them.

I rarely watch Logo because it the same old crap over and over. I never watch "reality shows"- I value my conscious too much to waste it.

I suggest getting rid of the gay niche programming and try to find the gay market that lives outside the big gay meccas and wants more out of life than cruising, camp and cocktails.

Bring back Queer as Folk- it's not too dated.

Add Battlestar Galactica- plenty of eye candy and you'll get cross over because it's only showing regularly on BBC.

Ditch Rue Paul. Over the hill drag queens are a dime a dozen.

They should definitely keep showing LGBT short films and feature films, like they have been. Maybe even more so.

Agree with ditching the British TV reliance. I can't say how much I hate Bad Girls now. So much do I hate it.

Also majorly agree with ditching The A-List: New York. I am never one to say that portrayals of real life albeit "stereotypical" queens is a bad thing. They're real people and that's how they are. But these queens are setting the movement back because they're just. bad. people. They have nothing to contribute, think about nothing, and they're the face of "successful" gay men in society? No thanks.

Logo would probably be 50% improved by getting rid of them.

I also would like to see news segments and hosts who stick around. Trans hosts that the viewers can become familiar with and recognize. Give minority queers a platform to be visible. There is no reason that Logo can't have vapid entertainment AND develop careers for members of the community AND have incisive stories and news.

And please bring back Noah's Arc. It wasn't amazing, but it's a guilty pleasure and showcases a diverse amount of black gay men, which is rare. We don't need another Dante's Cove.

And selfishly, I would also want more Rick & Steve. Creative queer humor that doesn't take itself so seriously.

Jaime Dunaway Jaime Dunaway | August 10, 2011 1:31 PM

Definitely get rid of RuPaul. That and 1 girl, 5 gays seems to dominate the channel during the times I am home and actually want to watch any television.

Viktor, please! ... Tavis Smiley? ... Really? ... I mean, really? ... Are you smokin' 420? ... Next Thanksgiving, Tavis's mama would run him out of Kokomo!

Even if a decision were made to get a Black anchorperson, there is no shortage of talented Black gay males (or lesbian Black females) who would be great at anchoring a news segment. Of course, LOGO can't even afford Don Lemon. But consider Herndon Davis, Keith Boykin, or the guys at nomoredownlow.tv -- all have demonstrated they can do a good job in front of a camera, so at least give them an audition.

Tavis Smiley ... I love Tavis, but he's got a problem in the gingerly way he covers -- or ignores -- LGBT issues. When he interviewed Don Lemon recently, during the two minutes given to discuss Don's book disclosure about his private life, Don actually spoke the word "gay" but Tavis called the matter "your sexual orientation".

In addition to not being the right guy for the job, it would be for Tavis, "The Gig From Hell" -- and the conservative part of his fan base would agree.

Yeah, most of it is crap. I understand that original programming is very expensive, which is why they do so many reality shows. But I don't understand why they don't program more interesting films. There's so much great stuff out there. (I have to say my opinion of Logo is colored by the fact that they declined to acquire MY film.)

That said, RuPaul's Drag Race and Drag U are the best TV ever. I'm not exaggerating. They are moving, surprising, hilarious, and very subversive.

Yes, Steven, I still luv RuPaul (even though I haven't watched her in ages).

Maybe someday she can both produce and star in a drag version of "Golden Girls" ...

Get rid of RuPaul??? No way... keep RuPaul! That show is the only redeeming thing on Logo at the moment and it keeps getting better with every season.

Every time I tune to Logo that damn 1 girl 5 gay guys show is on. Who thought this was interesting television, and then decided to show it on Logo for 6 hours a day? I don't care what 5 random gay guys think. Ugh. If I tune there one more time and here them talking about their penises..

It's funny two people say they only see the 1 girl 5 gay guys show all the time. For me it used to be Bad Girls every time. Then they got rid of it and it was all Buffy The Vampire Slayer all the time. It became a running joke with my husband and I. He would say let's see what is on the gay channel. I would say Buffy and 9 out of ten times I was right.

Hopefully someone working at Viacom/Logo will take your list and run with it. I remember being in college when this network finally debuted and for awhile it was great because it had movies, documentaries, and shows that I had never seen before. Now it's simply living off that same content being re-run 50 times and/or simply doing reality shows on the extra cheap. If it truly wants to evolve further it needs to go out and really financially invest in creating original LBGT content. We shouldn't hold our breaths.

The problem unfortunately is that its viewership is just in the abyss. The A-List is their second most popular show and that only gets 174,000 viewers during its first-run.

Of course Viacom could pump some money into it from its other networks, but why waste money when you can just grab other network content and run it into the ground for the cheap.

Pick up Matt Baume for whatever news show. The weekly updates on YouTube (I catch them via JMG) could be oh so much better if the funds were there to make it a daily segment. There is enough happening each week to have a daily segment even if it means flying Matt around the country for live coverage.

Pick up the Diana Montford Show from NYC's MNN - this is a low-cost half-hour format interview show that is *always* interesting.

A panel discussion show something like The View would be *very* interesting. Perhaps more than one different set of panels, or shows.

Get Ted Allen from the Food Network to host *some* kind of show, if he can be borrowed.

I realize Rosie O'Donnell has other irons in the fire, but perhaps Judy Gold could anchor one of the "View" knockoffs, or perhaps have her own talk show.

They had Callie Addams for that "Transamerican Love Story" reality show. While the reality show format is way overdone, getting Callie, Andrea James and Alex Mapa into some other format could wotk really well.

I'd also like more Big Gay Sketch Show and Rick and Steve.

Original panel shows, talk shows, and interview shows are not terribly expensive to produce. News can cost some, but there are ways to utilize stringers as on-the-scene people and even skype to cut costs.

Wilberforce1 | August 10, 2011 6:45 PM

Rick and Steve and The Big Gay Sketch Show were the only things worthwhile: funny, witty, daring, and critical of our own community when appropriate. Such a relief from the sugar coating of every subject that the public demands.
I would like to see gay history, probably done in a documentary format, which would be cheaper than docudrama. It would feature our heroes: Michaelangelo, Alan Turing, Baron Von Steuben, etc... With PR like that, public opinion would lurch in our direction.
I'd also like to see exposes on high and low gay culture through the centuries: commentaries on camp, gender bending, diva worship, good taste, artistic brilliance, fine manners, community service, etc... Give queers in their twenties something real to be proud of.
But this is all wishful thinking.
First, commercial media doesn't allow quality programming. Their job is to dumb down public discourse. Period. It's the tragic effect of turning over mass communications technology to snake oil salesmen.
Second, the community is too ignorant to appreciate quality content. They're obsessed with looks and bodies and wouldn't recognize brains, character, and high gay culture if they were draped in Channel and skipping down a Paris runway.

I agree with the shorts idea. I'd like to see more small budget stuff from new film makers.

+1

Pick up films from the LGBT independent filmmakers. Every year, during the worldwide circuit of LGBT film festivals, many interesting and important films are made and shown. Unfortunately, only those who seek out these festivals and make it to them get to see this selection of queer film. If you're not in town, able to get a ticket, or convince friends to go, you miss out :)

LOGO should be making more of an effort to reach out to these filmmakers. Have a periodic feature of "Festival Selection" showings that showcase them.

The content is out there the filmmakers are willing. Little effort would be required to fix this issue.

*Dislaimer* I don't own a TV and have never seen LOGO personally, I'm just vaguely familiar with their programming.

And frankly, what I rarely see is 1) Good Bi portrayals, 2) Good Trans portrayals, and 3) EVER see non-straight trans people at all. Shit, I'll volunteer my fiancée and I for a bit on that last one - two transgender girls - one dyke and one omni - already driving distance to Hollywood.

(If I'm completely off base with this, blast me for it)

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 11, 2011 2:38 AM

Just 10? You're far too kind.

Rachel Bellum | August 11, 2011 4:44 AM

I find it difficult to believe that there aren't enough LGBT actors, directors, documentarians, comedians, newspeople, et cetera to fill the channel with daily programming.

And let's face it, there are plenty of people at the beginning of their careers who are willing on work cheaply. And an LGBT channel would seem to be a great place for artists (and newspeople) to engage in groundbreaking work. At this point, still, almost by definition.

I like RuPaul, and The Big Gay Sketch Show, and Rick and Steve. The news breaks were great. I enjoyed the music related content, but didn't tend to seek it out.

A relatively serious morning talk show covering both news and other topics (similar to other networks)would appear to be relatively low risk and potentially low cost. New movies and original shows are a must. If people can produce webshows, LOGO should be able to produce original programming. A serious (in issues/content) nightly news show a la Maddow or PBS's In the Life would be nice. Late night comedies would also help round out the programming.

I really like Wilberforce's suggestion regarding LGBT biographical and historical programming. Even if it's not what they set out to watch, people seem to get sucked in to such shows.

I'm sure more bisexually identified people on air would be appreciated by many, and a transsexual/transgender presence, especially in more serious roles like news or talk, would be more than a welcome addition.

I tried to watch 1girl5gays but found that I couldn't actually do it. I've never even bothered trying to watch A-list. MTV style documentaries seemingly made by interns over the weekend with borrowed equipment are not the things I get the most excited to watch.

When Logo first hit national cable it was a breath of fresh air (IMHO), and I went to some trouble to ensure I could get it through my home cable company. They don't seem to be working equally hard to keep me.

Multiple opportunities to view limited content is not as useful or interesting as increased and novel content.

Wilberforce1 | August 11, 2011 1:38 PM

Thanks so much.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why we don't use our brilliant history to move public opinion. I think it also would help people in their twenties with bad self esteem feel better about themselves.
I've been begging for two years for the Pride Parade to feature gay history, and no one has been interested.

Wilberforce1 | August 11, 2011 2:40 PM

I would also like to see unhealthy parts of the culture criticized, and the brilliant parts celebrated. But again, the public is so used to having their butts kissed by commercial groups buttering them up for a sale, they can't deal with public displays of emotional maturity or self criticism.

Jesse Monteagudo Jesse Monteagudo | August 11, 2011 7:44 AM

LOGO is not alone. Most cable networks start great and then descend to the lowest common denominator, as the powers that be seek a demographic that the advertisers covet. Does anyone remember A&E, Bravo, the Discovery Channel or the History Channel, before reality shows took over? There are many things that LOGO could do to improve itself, from scripted shows like "Noah's ARC" to music videos by openly LGBT artists (which they did on "The Click List," now gone). But don't get rid of RuPaul. I like RuPaul.

If LOGO is suggesting that "The A-List" is an appropriate presentation of the typical lgbt community, then I will happily join Kathy Griffin in her life on the D-list. None of the lgbt persons I know is comparable in the slightest to that sorority on "The A-List."

Here's # 11: How about actually paying residuals to the cast & creator of "Sordid Lives"? Logo did NOT support Del Shores in the creepy battle with the producer (who declared bankruptcy rather than pay what he was ordered to)- which is the reason there was no "Sordid Lives - Season 2". Not nice or supportive of Creatives in our community.
Saw your list via "AfterElton", my have to rethink going there if Logo group is all that shady ...

You make some good points, but honestly I think you might be a little unrealistic. First off your proposed changes by themselves probably cost triple Logo's entire budget. And although i liked their former news program, no one was watching it, which is why it was cancelled. Though the A-List is pretty bad, it manages to be profitable. Logo also actually produces a lot of significant amount of movies and documentaries. And i suppose 1 girl 5 gays is their version of a talk show, also probably the most entertaining thing that the network has to offer. And finally with the scripted shows idea i could not agree more. Having a show with a primarily gay focus would be great to have on Logo, especially since they haven't had anything scripted since Noah's Arc.

I agree with Bob Kennon and his comments about Sordid Lives: The Series. If they can't pay for great content they already have, why should anyone want to work with them in the future?

RuPaul isn't going anywhere fast, folks. The season finale of season 3 had more than a half million viewers and the highest viewership in some coveted demographics (18-49 for men; 24-54 for women) in Logo's history. The follow-up of "Untucked" also had great ratings. The streaming of the show had 14 million through season 3. Yeah, Logo's going to get rid of her ass real fast. Ha.
Go here for the details:
http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/04/27/logo%E2%80%99s-season-finale-of-%E2%80%9Crupaul%E2%80%99s-drag-race%E2%80%9D-caps-off-highest-rated-and-most-streamed-season-ever/90786/

DO A SECOND SEASON OF SORDID LIVES!!!! WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!!

What? ... No endless re-runs of "In Living Color"?

Much of the changes we all want to see require money, time and risk -- things Logo (or for that matter Here) doesn't have. For very little money, Logo is pulling in pretty decent viewing figures, advertising numbers and income. The shows are crap, but the return on investment of crap is much better than the return on quality, at least for Logo.

I always wanted Logo to be HBO or AMC. But they are making their targets being Vh1 and Bravo.

Great posting, can't agree more, LOGO tv is such an overwhelming disappointment, lately it seems every time I tune in it's some sort of cast-off straight show. At the moment it's a show about people who self-injure; very sad but this belongs on another channel. I'm to the point where I've taken to contacting LOGO's advertisers to complain about this -- they advertise on LOGO to reach a GLBTQI audience, right? So they should be told how unacceptable this is. LOGO has become the channel for MTV's (and everyone else's) cast-off, orphan programming. Please continue to speak out against the present reign of crap on LOGO!!