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    Where We Are on TV 2023-2024

    Representation in Alternative Programming

    Representation in Alternative Programming Alan Cumming The Traitors
    THE TRAITORS -- "One Final Hurdle" Episode 211 -- Pictured: Alan Cumming -- (Photo by: Euan Cherry/Peacock)

    Though this report only quantifies scripted content, the impact and scope of unscripted series is important to note. In terms of diversity and representation, reality shows and docuseries often outpace scripted series as they grant LGBTQ people the agency to tell their own stories. 

    Many outstanding LGBTQ-inclusive reality shows premiered on streaming services this year. In January, Netflix’s hit reboot Queer Eye returned for its eighth season, and the Fab Five headed to New Orleans to jazz up the lives of the city’s heroes. The series has been renewed for a ninth season, which will introduce gay design expert Jeremiah Brent. The seventh season of Selling Sunset also premiered on the streamer this fall, offering a glimpse into the relationship between out real estate agent Chrishell Stause and her partner, nonbinary musician G-Flip. The streamer debuted the spin-off The Ultimatum: Queer Love in May, which centers on couples of women and nonbinary people at a turning point in their relationship as one is ready for marriage and the other is not. Additionally, the sophomore season of Love on the Spectrum, a docuseries following people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships, introduces lesbian aspiring pastry chef Journey Early, who goes on her very first date. Also in the season, fan-favorite animator Dani Bowman returns to find love and opens up about her pansexual identity. 

    Peacock’s The Traitors, a strategic competition series hosted by out actor Alan Cumming, returned for its second season this winter, becoming the streamers’ most-watched reality series debut. The show included transgender contestant Peppermint and queer contestant Parvati. In June, Max launched the inclusive rom-doc Swiping America, following a group of single New Yorkers on an introspective dating app journey across the country. Two of the four singletons are in the LGBTQ community: lesbian entrepreneur Ashleigh Warren and gay data scientist Krishnanand Kelkar. Hulu premiered Kristen Stewart’s reality series Living for the Dead in the fall, which follows a group of queer paranormal experts who travel to infamous haunted locations to communicate with supernatural spirits. Tubi’s ground-breaking new series TRANSworld Atlanta also premiered in 2023 and has since become available on Amazon Prime. The docu-reality series follows Black trans men Malik Brown, Ja’Mel Ashely, Shon Jackson, and Nick Devereux as they push through adversity, love, and life, no longer willing to hide in the shadows of hatred or hostility. 

    On cable, HGTV aired the third season of Bargain Block, garnering over 14 million viewers this summer. In the show, fiancés Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas transform abandoned Detroit properties into stylish and affordable starter homes. Also on HGTV is the new series Small Town Potential, hosted by queer fiancées Kristin Leitheuser and Davina Thomasula. In the show, real estate agent Thomasula and builder Leitheuser transform affordable houses in upstate New York’s Hudson Valley into beautiful homes that fulfill their clients’ lifestyle dreams. The fourteenth season of Real Housewives of New York City premiered on Bravo, which features lesbian cast member Jenna Lyons, the second out Housewife in the franchise. Lyons has spoken publicly about the vitality of LGBTQ representation in media.  

    Unscripted drag series continue to sweep television. RuPaul’s Drag Race is airing its 16th season on MTV this spring, alongside its companion show RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked. RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars has also been renewed for a ninth season, set to premiere on Paramount+ in 2024. In the fall, Shudder and AMC+ released the fifth season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, where eleven drag artists from around the world compete in an underground style drag competition. Additionally, Hulu debuted Drag Me to Dinner in May, a new competition series hosted by out drag legend Murray Hill, with judges Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, Haneefah Wood, and Bianca Del Rio.

    There was a plethora of LGBTQ contestants in additional reality competition series during the research period. These programs include MTV’s The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion, Netflix’s Next in Fashion, Bravo’s Project Runway, NBC’s The Voice, CBS’s Survivor and The Amazing Race, and more.

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