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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Sullivan’

‘There Will Be a Time When Coming Out is Not a Big Story’

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By any measure, 2013 was the Year of the Queer, especially for network anchors.

In addition to the death of DOMA, the increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, and the Boy Scouts of America’s pledge of allegiance to sexual diversity, ABC’s Robin Roberts and Sam Champion and NBC’s Jenna Wolfe joined the growing pantheon of openly-gay anchors.

All three of their revelations were greeted with virtually unanimous support, which leads me to wonder: Have we reached a societal tipping point for acceptance of homosexual news personalities? Or does the culture of celebrity require that such disclosures launch blazing headlines?

Yes and yes.

“As long as we keep progressing, there will be a time when coming out is not a big story,” says CNN’s Don Lemon, 47, who disclosed his sexuality in his 2011 memoir. “… Maybe not in the near future; maybe over the course of a decade. I’m not an authority on when that will be. I’m not Nostradamus. I can’t predict things.”

To MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, we’re already at that point. Out since 2006, his September 2012 wedding to Patrick Abner was featured in the Sunday New York Times ’‘Vows” section.

“Times have changed,” Roberts, 41, says. “We have a President who believes in marriage equality, and a Supreme Court that believes in marriage equality, and more and more states that are enacting laws to recognize marriage equality. I think it’s fantastic.”

The momentum from this cultural sea change has enabled “great, wonderful people” such as Robin Roberts et. al “to step up and claim their rightful spots,” Roberts adds. “They’re showing that a successful personal life and a successful professional life can live within the same sphere.”

Roberts and Lemon point out that such exposure is crucial in the face of raging homophobes like ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson. Robertson is “free to cast aspersions,” Roberts says. “He throws gay people on the fire and uses the Bible as an excuse.”

Amen. Got a match?

Robin Roberts’ and Sam Champion’s approaches to acknowledging their sexuality publicly represent another cultural tipping point. Eschewing methods of the past — declarations on national magazine covers, for example — both chose a subtle, understated approach.

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In Year-End Message of Gratitude, Robin Roberts Thanks Longtime Girlfriend

robin roberts amber laignRobin Roberts surprised her Facebook followers this afternoon in an end-of-year post. She came out publicly for the first time, mentioning her longtime girlfriend Amber LaignRoberts has been out to her family, friends and co-workers for years, but this is the first time she’s publicly acknowledged her sexuality.

I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.

Roberts and Laign have been together for 10 years. Laign, a massage therapist who works with patients recovering from injuries, is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.

A year ago today, Roberts reached the 100 day mark following her bone marrow transplant. Her posting today is a message of thanks for all who helped her along the way.

Roberts joins a short list of TV news anchors who have come out publicly. In July, 2012 CNN’s Anderson Cooper  came out during a Q&A with Andrew Sullivan. In Oct., 2012, former “GMA” weatherman Sam Champion was at the wedding of MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts to Patrick Abner when he let it slip that he was going to marry his boyfriend, Rubem Robierb.

Production Wraps on ‘The Chris Matthews Show’

The syndicated weekend public affairs program, “The Chris Matthews Show” is wrapping up production after 11 years. And the final three broadcasts, airing over the next three weekends, feature 17 of the show’s most prominent guests.

The seventeen journalists include Gloria Borger, David Brooks, Elisabeth Bumiller, Michael Duffy, Howard Fineman, John Heilemann, David Ignatius, Katty Kay, Joe Klein, Andrea Mitchell, Michele Norris, Kelly O’Donnell, Clarence Page, Kathleen Parker, Andrew Sullivan, Cynthia Tucker, and Bob Woodward.

It was these, and many other guests who, since 2002, provided the answer to the show’s signature question: “Tell me something I don’t know.”

“The fact is,” says Matthews. “I look at the whole show that way. I am constantly learning when I sit with these caring, thinking, in most cases, hopeful people. No, they’re not just journalists. They’re people – like you – trying to get some grip on this surprise we call life.”

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Anderson Cooper Experimenting With New Panel Format For ‘AC360′

All this week, Anderson Cooper will be pulling double-duty, not only hosting “AC360″ at 8 PM, but new editions of “AC360″ at 10 PM… with an entirely different format.

The 8 PM show stays the same, but the 10 PM editions of the show will utilize a panel format through Thursday night, with Cooper serving as the host. CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin will be guests all week, as will Amy Holmes from TheBlaze. Every day there will be a different guest joining the panel as well. For Monday’s show, the guest was blogger Andrew Sullivan, a good friend of Cooper’s. Cooper, you may recall, formally “came out” as gay in a post on Sullivan’s “Daily Dish.”

CNN has been using 10 PM as a testing ground for new shows in recent weeks. First it tried out panel show “(Get To) The Point,” and then announced plans to re-run Jake Tapper’s afternoon show in the slot. The Boston bombing changed coverage around, but now the channel is back to experimenting.

One thing seems certain: the 10 PM re-run of “AC360″ will not be sticking around much longer. Whether it is replaced by a new format “AC360″ or by some other program, the channel is aggressively testing out other options there.

Update: It looks like the panel format may be worth repeating. 10 PM’s “AC360″ placed first among all the cable news channels in adults 25-54, though it remained third in total viewers.

More Election Night Coverage Plans

The typical broadcasters and cable news channels aren’t the only ones covering tomorrow’s Presidential election  Here are some of the other coverage highlights from other cable channels, and online.

C-SPAN: Will simulcast “Politico Live” from 7 PM until the acceptance/concession speeches begin, when it shifts over to C-SPAN 2 until midnight. C-SPAN will also air all speeches, as well as updates from key state races.

Comedy Central: “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” will be live Tuesday night from 11PM-12AM, with special coverage called ”Election Night 2012: This Ends Now” and “Election 2012: A Nation Votes, Ohio Decides; The Re-Presidenting of America: Who Will Replace Obama? ‘012!”Andrew Sullivan will be a guest, and “Daily Show” correspondents will report “from the show’s on-set Obama and Romney headquarters and election center.”

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Tina Brown Returns to TV with ‘Daily Beast TV’

Tina Brown is eying original video productions with the launch next month of Daily Beast TV, reports AdWeek.

The venture has been described as an online talk show. A rep for the Newsweek Daily Beast Co. said Daily Beast TV would be a mix of original videos like the “Ask Andrew Anything” feature that Andrew Sullivan launched in September. The rotoscope-style videos feature the Beast blogger answering reader questions like “When did you truly feel American?” and “When will pot be legalized?”

CNN and ABC veteran producer Kathy O’Hearn, who joined the Beast in December will oversee Daily Beast TV. O’Hearn was the creator and executive producer of Brown’s last foray into TV, “Topic A with Tina Brown,” which ran for two years on CNBC, going off the air in 2005. O’Hearn then went to ABC News, where she was EP of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

No word whether the Beast’s Howard Kurtz, who hosts weekly media criticism show “Reliable Sources” on CNN, will be a part of Daily Beast TV.