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American Television, Talk Shows  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  

One such election result was the passage of California's Proposition 8, which declared that only marriages between a man and a woman could be considered valid or recognized in the state. Hasselbeck and Shepherd supported the proposition and argued against gay marriage, with Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg--an outspoken gay marriage proponent--repeatedly sparring over the issue.

However, though Hasselbeck and Shepherd have consistently maintained conservative stances about many social issues, both women have recently softened their resistance and backpedaled their opposition to marriage equality.

Sponsor Message.

In 2009, one of the show's co-hosts, Joy Behar, announced that she would debut her own news/talk program concurrent with her work on The View. Like Goldberg, Behar has long been a strong pro-gay voice, and she used her presence on the Joy Behar Show to speak up for gay and lesbian rights and to combat anti-gay bigotry.

Behar's show debuted on September 29, 2009 on CNN's sister network HLN. It was awarded an Excellence in Media Award by GLAAD in 2010 for its contributions to increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In 2011, Behar also received high praise from GLAAD for her sensitive and respectful interview with Chaz Bono, which aired on May 20, 2011.

Throughout its short run The Joy Behar Show featured many glbt guests and allies. It also spotlighted several anti-gay guests. For example, in October 2009, Behar invited Tea Party activist "Joe the Plumber" (nee Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher) to confront him over his stance on homosexuality. After Wurzelbacher stated that he would not let homosexuals anywhere near his children and declared that homosexuality was a "choice," Behar lectured him on the psychological roots of pedophilia, pointed out the differences between gay men and pedophiles, and finally dismissed him as a "media sideshow" rather than a legitimate pundit.

Behar's confrontation with "Joe the Plumber" epitomized her no-nonsense approach to handling controversial topics and persons. As Behar noted in a 2009 interview with AfterElton columnist Brent Hartinger, "I'm not out to expose people. I'm out to confront people whose views are public." However, this ethos allegedly led to conflicts with network executives; and, after two years, HLN opted not to renew Behar's show. The Joy Behar Show left the airwaves in December 2011, and Behar resumed her position as full-time co-host on The View.

No doubt inspired by the success of ABC's The View, CBS piloted The Talk on October 18, 2010. Helmed by out lesbian actress Sara Gilbert, who serves as the show's executive producer and one of six co-hosts, The Talk focuses on motherhood/parenthood, and features celebrity interviews and segments for mothers and/or parents in general.

The Talk has received mixed critical reviews, including negative appraisals from Linda Stasi at The New York Post, who described the show as a dumbed-down "mommy-answer to The View." Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe also noted that "The Talk is an hour of plastic blatherers pretending to be a microcosm of American women."

Matthew Gilbert's "microcosm" observation is interesting given that Sara Gilbert is a lesbian mother of two children. As such, she does in fact represent an often unrecognized segment of American women. Moreover, although the show's focus is on motherhood, it has also showcased gay issues such as coming out and gay marriage.

For example, when Sara Gilbert welcomed her sister, actress Melissa Gilbert, to The Talk on December 6, 2011, co-host Sharon Osbourne quickly steered the conversation toward a discussion of Sara's sexuality. Osbourne asked Melissa, "When did you first realize that your beautiful sister loved vajayjay?" whereupon Melissa stated that when they were teenagers, she had suspected Sara was gay, and took her sister out to dinner to remind her that she could tell her anything. During this episode, Melissa also shared a few stories about Sara's coming out process.

Other episodes have featured Sara Gilbert speaking emotionally about her relationships. In an episode aired on September 30, 2011, she tearfully disclosed the dissolution of her ten-year partnership with television producer Alison Adler. Two months later, as part of a panel discussion on the topic of celebrities and privacy, co-host Aisha Tyler mentioned that rumors were swirling about Gilbert starting a new relationship. This disclosure led Gilbert to announce that although she was indeed in a relationship with musician Linda Perry, she nevertheless had some reservations about being essentially forced to disclose. Gilbert joked, "As I'm developing a relationship with you guys, the audience, I do want to share stuff with you guys but kind of would rather do it on my terms, I guess, in full hair and makeup."

Gilbert's deprecating humor about mixing the personal and the professional under the glare of studio lights is a sentiment shared by Rosie O'Donnell, whose The Rosie Show debuted in October 2011 on Oprah Winfrey's OWN.

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