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Lisa Sherman

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Logo Evolves with the LGBT Audience

Posted: 04/18/2012 5:48 pm

On a recent episode of Modern Family, Cameron hits on Katie, a bombshell sitting alone at a bar, to prove to his cynical friends that being gay doesn't mean he can't attract the opposite sex. After Katie (Leslie Mann) gives Cam her number and agrees to a date, she reveals (spoiler alert!) to her crestfallen "suitor" that she knew he was gay from the start. All she wanted was a gay best friend with whom to watch Julia Roberts movies and talk about guys.

Art imitates life.

While it's nothing new that gay men have close straight female friends, what is new is that the increased integration of LGBT and straight people -- just like on Modern Family -- represents a dramatic shift in American life. When Logo, the first 24/7 television channel and digital entertainment brand for the LGBT audience, was conceived almost a decade ago, that audience was living in an America of mostly unmodern families. The most recent census at the time showed that, compared to now, there were almost half as many LGBT couples living together and only about a quarter as many couples with kids. Ellen DeGeneres was shunned by advertisers for coming out. Gays and lesbians couldn't serve openly in the military, and only one state provided equal marriage rights for gay couples.

When Logo launched, there was also a dearth of authentic programming for and about LGBT people. After decades of being forced to imagine Mary and Rhoda as more than best friends and enduring Miss Hathaway and Mr. You-Know-Who in The Center Square, Logo was going to be ours. That's why our initial programming slate gave the LGBT community something we never had before: content that was for us and about us. We took our historic role very seriously and brought to air documentaries and series that had never before been transmitted into millions of living rooms across America.

Our goal at Logo in 2012 is the same now as it was then: to truly reflect our viewers' lives. And those lives have been changing for the better. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed. Zero tolerance of bullying has become a national cause. A national advertiser has ignored criticism and vocally supported Ellen. And eight states now have marriage equality.

There is no media entity more in tune with today's evolving LGBT audience than Logo. And what we've found is that we are increasingly more interested in entertainment that is for us than entertainment that is exclusively about us. Indeed, Logo's recent research with Starcom Mediavest Group found that less than a third of us want to socialize exclusively with LGBT people, and a majority are proudly out but don't necessarily see being LGBT as something that is always front and center in our lives.

As we have from day one, Logo will be attached to the hip of the LGBT audience. We will follow them wherever they go with smart, unapologetic, and outrageous programming that will appeal to their multiple interests. And quite often those interests are now the same as those of their friends and family, whether they're gay or straight. It's not just programming about gays, it's programming that gays will enjoy. Our approach will engage our evolving audience, with new shows like The Baby Wait, which will focus on the universal struggles behind adoption for both gay and straight couples, as well as top hits such as RuPaul's Drag Race.

Gay remains in our DNA as the fight goes on to enact marriage equality in more states, to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, and to ensure equality for the people living in the 29 states where it's still legal to fire someone just because they're LGBT. But as our gay sensibility becomes embraced more and more by straight Americans, we will welcome them into the fold, too. Logo will continue to be for Mitch and Cam and, now, for Leslie Mann's Katie, too. And, let's face it: Gloria is practically an entire Logo show in and of herself.

 
 
 
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