TV

How Queer Are This Season’s New Primetime Television Shows?

From "Batwoman" to "FBI: Most Wanted," this year's scripted TV series are bringing more queer characters to the small screen.

A relatively small number of LGBTQ characters will make their small screen debuts in this season’s slate of new scripted primetime television shows on broadcast TV networks. However, most of the queer characters included in these programs seem to be written as compelling people.

NewNowNext did some digging, and a few key trends emerged among this fall’s programming slate. For one thing, queer women outnumber queer men (Kate Kane/Batwoman in Batwoman; Breanne Bishop in Deputy). Many LGBTQ characters are in law enforcement (Abigail Thomas in Tommy; Sheryll Barnes in FBI: Most Wanted), and many are also people of color and/or are in interracial relationships (Jorge Lopez (Ginger) in Katy Keene; Anya and Safiya in For Life).

Below, find a full rundown of the openly LGBTQ characters in broadcast TV’s new slate we know about so far. Premiere dates for all of the following shows have yet to be announced. (Note: NBC did not respond to an inquiry from NewNowNext asking about any LGBTQ characters in its upcoming programming.)

Batwoman (AKA Kate Kane) in Batwoman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrIiPcv4_iY
The CW’s Batwoman series, starring Ruby Rose as the lesbian title character, is the first broadcast network TV series with a LGBTQ superhero as its lead. The CW describes Batwoman (whose real name is Kate Kane) as being “armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind.” Based on the DC Comics character, Batwoman in the TV show becomes Gotham’s “new vigilante” after Batman (AKA Bruce Wayne, Kate Kane’s cousin) has disappeared for three years. Kate is a prodigal daughter who’s been kicked out of military school, and she’s returning to Gotham with some major emotional baggage: Her mother and sister were murdered in Gotham years before. Her father, Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott), is in charge of the powerful Crows Private Security, whose best employee, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), has been kidnapped. Sophie happens to be Kate’s ex-girlfriend. Batwoman will air on Sundays at 8pm ET/PT.

Abigail “Tommy” Thomas in Tommy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VfCfGDjllE
Edie Falco (formerly of The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie) returns to series television as the star of the CBS midseason crime drama Tommy. She plays Abigail “Tommy” Thomas, a former high-ranking New York Police Department officer who becomes the first female police chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. A CBS spokesperson describes the Tommy character as “tough and sarcastic while remaining likable.” Although Tommy’s sexuality isn’t apparent in the show’s first trailer, the spokesperson tell us that Tommy is definitely a member of the LGBTQ community.

Breanne Bishop in Deputy


Bex Taylor-Klaus plays supporting character Breanna Bishop in Fox’s midseason crime series Deputy, starring Stephen Dorff as title character Bill Hollister. Breanna is described in the show’s synopsis as “the whip-smart, sarcastic driver in charge of Bill’s security detail.”

Jorge Lopez (Ginger) in Katy Keene

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ryc9o-10ZQ
The CW’s midseason show Katy Keene (a Riverdale spinoff starring Lucy Hale) has a drag performer named Jorge Lopez or “Ginger” (Jonny Beauchamp), who’s part of Katy Keene’s circle of friends chasing glamorous dreams in New York City. According to the show’s synopsis, “Jorge works at his family’s bodega and has his eye on Broadway, but after a series of rejections, he hopes to take his drag performance career as Ginger to the next level.”

Edie Palmer and Amanda in Almost Family

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL-gvYvyWgA
Edie Palmer (Megalyn Echikunwoke) is one of the main characters in the Fox drama Almost Family, which also features LGBTQ supporting character Amanda (Victoria Cartagena), who doesn’t have a last name in the show. Almost Family, which will air Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT, is about three women (played by Echikunwoke, Brittany Snow, and Emily Osment) who find out that they are half-sisters because their biological father (played by Timothy Hutton) is a fertility doctor who illegally impregnated several women. According to Fox’s description, Edie “comes to grips with her burgeoning sexuality, as her marriage falters.” Edie is also the former best friend of Julia Bechley, the character played by Snow. Fox declined to give further details about the show’s LGBTQ characters to NewNowNext because “show creators/writers hold this information to reveal later during subsequent episodes for narrative purposes,” according to a network spokesperson.

Sheryll Barnes in FBI: Most Wanted

The CBS midseason drama FBI: Most Wanted (a spinoff of FBI) features supporting character Sheryll Barnes (Roxy Sternberg). When asked about Sheryll’s sexual orientation by NewNowNext, CBS only revealed so far that Sheryll is “an ex-NYPD detective with elevated street smarts.”

Luis in Broke

Izzy Diaz plays supporting character Luis (no last name) in the CBS midseason sitcom Broke. Pauley Perrette stars in the show as a single mom named Jackie, whose formerly wealthy sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), and Elizabeth’s husband Javier (played by Jaime Camil) move in with Jackie after they become broke. Luis is Javier’s loyal assistant/driver, whom CBS describes as “a fastidious, impeccably dressed man, with an impressive memory.”

Anya and Safiya in For Life

ABC’s midseason show For Life has two supporting female characters who are married to each other—Anya (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Safiya (Indira Varma), who don’t seem to have last names in the show. The show is a legal drama starring Nicholas Pinnock as a prisoner who becomes a lawyer. ABC declined to provide further information to NewNowNext about these characters.

Lexie Gilani in Carol’s Second Act


In this CBS sitcom, Lexie Gilani (Sabrina Jalees) is part of a group of medical interns that includes 50-year-old Carol Kenney (Patricia Heaton). According to CBS, Lexie “may like the same type of women as her fellow interns Caleb and Daniel.” Carol’s Second Act will air Thursdays at 9:30pm ET/PT.

Unconfirmed: Dex Parios in Stumptown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwynrxEPSQk
The main character in ABC’s Stumptown—which is based on Greg Rucka’s graphic-novel series of the same name—is detective Dex Parios (played by Cobie Smulders in the TV show), who is bisexual in the graphic novels. ABC declined to provide any information on Dex’s sexuality in the TV show, which will air Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT.

Writer and editor whose work has appeared in AXS.com, Examiner.com, Lifetime, People, and Billboard.