ABC Family Plans Transgender Documentary Series
Disney-owned network ABC Family has ordered a docu-series about a family whose father, Charlie, is divorcing the mother to transition into life as a woman named Carly. The show, My Transparent Life – whose title not so subtly alludes to the Amazon Instant series Transparent – will also focus on the couple’s teenage son, Ben. Ryan Seacrest Productions, which makes the family reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, is handling the series’ development, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“At RSP, we love family stories, and we couldn’t be more excited that ABC Family is helping us share this heartwarming story of how an ordinary teenager grapples with a challenging and unexpected family situation,” Seacrest said in a statement. “We feel audiences will find Ben’s story relatable on a number of different levels, because at the end of the day, family is family unconditionally.”
“ABC Family is best known for its complex, loving and relatable family programming, and we are so proud to partner with Ryan Seacrest Productions to share Ben’s incredible real-life story,” ABC Family President Tom Ascheim said. “While Ben’s family situation is unusual, the themes and coming-of-age issues are universal, and we think our viewers will find a real connection to them.”
Earlier this year, Transparent emerged as one of the most buzzed-about new television series, ultimately earning a place on Rolling Stone’s list of the Best TV Moments of 2014. The show’s creator, Jill Soloway (whose previous production credits include family dramas Six Feet Under and United States of Tara), based the show, in part, on her own life story after her father announced he was transitioning. “I wanted to make something that would make the world safer for my parent,” Soloway told Rolling Stone earlier this year.
Earlier this week, Transparent earned Golden Globe nominations for Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical and Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical for actor Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura, né Mort Pfefferman. When Rolling Stone asked the actor, who previously appeared in Arrested Development and The Larry Sanders Show, whether transgender issues had previously affected his life, he said, “No. I was ignorant with a capital ‘ig.'”
Transgender actress Laverne Cox also earned a Golden Globe nomination this year for her role in Orange Is the New Black. This year, the actress also hosted an MTV documentary on transgender youth called The T Word. “I wanted it to be real and truthful: It’s not all bad, and it’s not all good,” Cox told Rolling Stone about the show. “And the good is the courage these young people show us to live truthfully in a culture that tells us we aren’t who we say we are.”
Tyra Banks also has a trangender docuseries in the works, TransAmerica, that will air on VH1. And Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace – who came out as trans in the pages of Rolling Stone – produced her own online documentary series about being transgender in the punk scene, True Trans.
In other news about trans-themed television shows, THR reports that Lena Dunham has a documentary titled Three Suits in the works for HBO about a tailor who works with transgender clients.
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