The Blend: Loving Ellen Page, Billy Eichner is ‘Difficult’ and HGTV Yanks Anti-Gays

The downside of my job as an entertainment journalist? Covering television and getting to know the writers, producers and talent more times that not really makes my job fun, interesting and even compelling at times…until that show gets cancelled and it all goes away.

It was fun while it lasted Parker Young, Geoff Stults and Chris Lowell (Fox)

Next week, the broadcast networks will be announcing their fall TV schedules which means this week is about sweeping away the shows that just didn’t make the grade. One of them stings a bit more than others. Enlistedwas announced almost a year ago with last May’s pickups but things were rough from the start. First, Fox pushed it from late fall to January and then gave it a time on the little watched Friday night.

Not only did it have one of the hunkiest casts with stars Geoff Stults, Parker Young and Chris Lowell as brothers in the army together, the show had sharp writing, heartfelt moments and, to support the hunk-quotient, we got to see Young without his clothes on…a lot. Kudos to Kevin Biegel and Mike Royce for crafting a beloved series that should’ve seen more life. Fox also cancelled “Surviving Jack,” “Dads,” and Rake.” 

So while we lose a lot of shows (and more will be announced in the coming days), there is a lot to look forward to. Here are just a few…

Lee Daniels’ “Empire” ordered to series: The out director of last year’s film ‘The Butler’ is getting into the hip hop world on a new Fox drama he’s created that stars Terrence Howard, Gabourey Sidibe, Jurnee Smollett, Malik Yoba and Taraji P. Hensen. Also at Fox, “Red Band Society” was picked up for series. The drama from creator Margaret Nagle, stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and “Brothers & Sistersalum Dave Annable and is set in the youth ward of  a hospital and also co-stars GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz.

Seth Meyers praises Ellen Page’s coming out: Watch how Ellen, who is in the upcoming “X-Men: Days Of Future Pasts” film, as well as Seth get distracted talking about Rachel Maddow, Ellen giving new names to pets (and members of Seth’s band) and how Seth congratulates her on her coming out on Valentine’s Day. I just like her more and more…agreed?

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Orphan Black” gays: My pals at talked with actors Evelyne Brochu and Jordan Gavaris about their gay characters – Delphine and Felix, respectively – on the BBC America thrillfest. If you’re not watching this show, you are truly missing out.

Anti-Gay Reality Hosts? HGTV Pulls The Plug: Deadline reported earlier this week that HGTV had pulled a new series about house flipping because the two hosts – brothers David and Jason Benham – were revealed to be anti-gay activists. If you’re a regular viewer of HGTV must-watches like “House Hunters” you know that gay couples are frequently  in the mix just like everyone else. Go, HGTV!!  (Updated, the Benham brothers have responded to HGTV’s move).

Billy Eichner on 'Billy On The Street" (Fuse)

Billy Eichner lands new gig! As long as he keeps doing “Billy On The Street” at Fuse, I’m happy for the out comic actor for his new role in the USA comedy, “Difficult People” for the USA Network. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eichner will create and star, alongside his pal Julie Klausner, a series about two best friends – who happen to be pop culture-loving comedians – who basically hate everyone except each other. Amy Poehler, who employed Eichner on “Parks and Recreation and has appeard on “Billy On The Street” is also Exec Producing. I want this show on the air NOW!

“Gotham” Trailer: While I thought I’d be burnt out on yet another comic book origins story, I have to say that Fox’s “Gotham” looks terrific by the trailer released earlier this week. Ben McKenzie (one of my favorites from TNT’s “Southland“) stars as a young Jim Gordon years before he becomes the seasoned police commissioner working alongside Batman. The series also stars Donal Logue andJada Pinkett Smith. Executive Producer Bruno Heller (“The Mentalist) wrote the pilot, which was directed by Danny Cannon(“CSI,” “Nikita“) and John Stephens will serve as Exec Producer of the series.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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