Imagine a gay "Ed Sullivan Show" with a touch of Oprah Winfrey mixed in.
That's how producers describe "In the Life," an upbeat, variety/talk show/news magazine showcasing gay and lesbian entertainment and issues premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m. on KOCE Channel 50 as part of Gay Pride Week.
"Most of what you see on TV presents the gay community in a problematic way" by focusing on such topics as anti-gay hate crimes or housing discrimination, said executive producer John Scagliotto.
"But there's this whole other aspect of being gay going on every day that people don't know about," and producers hope to chip away at stereotypes by presenting a more diverse, positive view, he said.
Plans are to feature emerging and well-known dancers, singers, performance artists, actors, stand-up comics and others from across the country. The show will also have segments on politics, health, current events and other topical matters.
Eventually, subjects including teen suicide--which is "extremely high" among gay and lesbian youths--and families with two gay parents will be explored, Scagliotto said.
He said he is hoping to develop "In the Life" as a series that would air this fall on public television stations nationwide. Scagliotto produced it in conjunction with WNYC-TV, one of New York City's two public TV stations.
On the lineup on Tuesday's one-hour show are Five Lesbian Brothers--a women's theater ensemble that will perform an excerpt from its play "Brave Smiles"--the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, female folk duo Casselberry & Dupree and the Lavender Light Gospel Choir.
Segments on health and how gays and lesbians have been portrayed in mainstream movies will round out the program, to be hosted by lesbian feminist comedienne Kate Clinton.
At press time, only a handful of stations had committed to air the inaugural episode, Scagliotto said. He speculated that stations are nervous after controversies erupted last year over public-TV broadcasts of "Stop the Church," a film about a protest against the Catholic Church's policies on AIDS, and "Tongues Untied," a documentary about gay black men.
"Not to say there is anything wrong or not with those programs, but ours is going to be very different," he said. "It's fascinating, interesting and provocative, but not controversial, unless you happen to think gay and lesbian (subject matter) is controversial in itself. If that's the case, there's nothing we can do about it."
\o7 "In the Life" airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on KOCE Channel 50. \f7