*NBC’s Utah affiliate KSL-TV made news this week for announcing they had pulled the upcoming NeNe Leakes sitcom “The New Normal” from its fall lineup, calling the series “inappropriate on several dimensions.”
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As previously reported, the series follows a gay couple and a financially-strapped single-mom who agrees to have their baby. NeNe plays Rocky, a supportive assistant to one of the fathers-to-be. In the pilot, she clashes with the surrogate’s right-wing, evangelical, anti-gay, racist mother, played by Ellen Barkin.
Andrew Rannells as Bryan, Ellen Barkin as Jane, Nene Leakes as Rocky in NBC’s “The New Normal”
Created by Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “Nip/Tuck,”) “The New Normal” is set to debut Sept. 11 at 9:30 p.m. – everywhere except KSL-TV, which doesn’t want it shown during “family viewing-time.”
“From time to time we may struggle with content that crosses the line in one area or another,” Jeff Simpson, CEO of the station’s parent company Bonneville International, told The Salt Lake Tribune. “The dialogue might be excessively rude and crude. The scenes may be too explicit or the characterizations might seem offensive.”
Barkin reacted to the news on Twitter: “Who does Jeff Simpson CEO of Bonneville (parent co. @KSL5TV) find “offensive”…my Christian conservative, [the] gay couple, or the unfertilized egg?”
NeNe Leakes and Ryan Murphy
NeNe, who just became a grandma at age 40, said she accepted the part without even knowing what the show was about. She said “yes” strictly on the strength of Ryan Murphy, who also hand-selected her for a recurring role on “Glee.”
“I didn’t ask for the script, I didn’t ask for anything,” she told us. “I just said, ‘Whatever you want me to do, Ryan, I will do it.’”
But, did her feelings change once she found out more details about the show? The budding actress answers below.
“The New Normal” premieres Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 9:30 p.m. Watch a promo below.