Those bemoaning the lack of good gay programming on Logo (“Drag Race” notwithstanding) or the failure of shows like “The New Normal” and “Sean Saves the World” to click with viewers, might want to head over to Here! TV.
Though it hasn't gotten as much press than it's MTV owned "cousin," gay owned and operated Here! has been quietly producing all manner of gay content for years.
“From Here on Out” is Here's hilarious, R rated new sitcom which gives the "gay for pay" phenomenon a well-deserved ribbing. Terry Ray, who's also the writer/creator, stars as Jimmy, a Hollywood writer who sells a series about a gay secret agent to a gay network. There's a catch: the actor who plays the lead must be openly gay.
When hunky, straight Sam (TJ Hoban) turns out to be the only actor with the chops to play the lead role, he's cast. He then comes out as gay, even though he's not. Madness and mayhem ensues.
"It's a weird world," Ray told SFGN. "The office sofa at Here! Studios where I got the job is the set we shot the scene when Jimmy gets the job!"
Both the series and the show-within-the-series will feature lots of sexy, scantily clad guys. "There's so many of them you get stunned," Ray said. "It kind of plateaus out. We were glad to get guys who were that hot who could be funny."
Director Sam Irvin, who worked on Here's horror themed series Dante's Cove, best described what viewers could expect when tuning in to “From Here On Out.”
"It's a very sexy gay 30 Rock," he said. "We spoof Here! the same way 30 Rock spoofs NBC. It's all about the shenanigans of producing a low budget series."
Irvin said that calling the shots on this new show was a strange kind of deja vu for him. "OMG! This is my life!" he said of scenes in which the cast and crew of the fictional onscreen series deal with the unreasonable, often outrageous edicts of network suits. "I went through this directing Dante's Cove — I've been to those meetings!"
Ray and Irvin were delighted when British actress Juliet Mills, beloved to American TV audiences for her roles on “Nanny and the Professor” in the 70s and, more recently, as the lovably evil witch on “Passions,” agreed to play Dottie, the studio receptionist. Mills carries quite a pedigree. Her father, Sir John Mills, was one of British theater's all time greats. Her sister Hayley was a major child star. Her godparents were actress Vivien Leigh and the great gay actor/playwright Noel Coward.
"We wanted to get somebody famous," Ray said. "She was really funny!"
"It took a little persuading to get her," Irvin said. "She said 'as long as I don't have to get naked!'"
Terry Ray hopes that viewers can see beyond labels and simply enjoy some laughs. "I want people to have a good time, to be entertained," he said. "Forget that it's a gay show. There's no message other than it's funny and entertaining."
The sexy, fast paced “From Here On Out” will premiere on Here! TV on March 28 —check your cable listings for times. The show can already be viewed at Here TV Premium, the network's subscription based You Tube channel ($7.99 per month for access to a whole array of gay-centric programs).