To anyone living in Utah, who watched the local NBC affliate KSL ever, it comes as no surprise that the LDS-owned media organization has chosen not to air “The New Normal.”
The show protrays a happy homosexual family. And that is too much for Bonneville International to handle.
The station also doesn’t air “Saturday Night Life.” They never have and they never will.
I know there is absolutely nothing I, NBC, “The New Normal” or anyone else can do to change Bonneville’s collective hive mind. They are led by the prophet, a man they believe to channel the voice of god. I can’t compete with that. NBC might have shot if they dangle enough money at them. But taking on someone’s religious convictions when it comes to entertainment rarely goes the way of TV winning.
However I still find this latest decision upsetting. Media allows us access to different people, different ideas, different places. Books, movies, TV, radio, blogs, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, they influence what we think about and sometimes they can change the way we think about things.
KSL is doing their audience a disservice by not providing access to a show they believe their audience wouldn’t watch. I wonder how different they’re audience would look if they didn’t put religious ideals before customer service. They fear “The New Normal” because they know it’s exactly that. The LDS Church is losing members in droves. There are hundreds of quietly ex-Mormons who stay in the faith because the social costs are too high to leave. There are millions of homosexual couples in the United States. Many of them proud and happy parents. But a faith which demands fear as a requisite to belief can not allow its members to see something so different be “normal.”
The actors of the show are attempting to combat KSL’s fear of this show, this protrayal of something different. But there is no petition that will allow the men who make up Bonneville International’s board to change. They are afraid of this new world, one where it is so easy for people to interact and connect with those who are different from themselves. (Thankfully, NBC has taken to the Internet to promote the show with the pilot airing online now.)
I don’t think KSL will ever embrace anything that isn’t white, male and Christian unless they are provided with “appropriate financial compensation.” But taking away access to the million people or so who live in this state to watch a show that would challenge them or maybe even is about them, is a travesty.
It’s a sign and reminder of why it is so important to keep media as open and accessible. The easiest way to access different ideas is through media. And TV is slowly becoming too entrenched in it’s own traditions of bias to allow an audience, spectacularly undervalued, to choose what they want.