- - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

‘Modern Family’ creator surprised by acceptance of gay characters

One of the biggest surprises for the creator of “Modern Family” is how Cameron and Mitchell, the gay parents who are among the show’s lead characters, are accepted by the audience.

Steven Levitan said Tuesday that it’s not just America: The Emmy-winning comedy is shown around the world, including in Vatican City. He said it’s unusual for him to hear any objections to Mitchell and Cameron, portrayed by actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet.

He said at a news conference that it’s easy for people to object to gay parents in concept.

“When you make it personal and show the people have good hearts and are extremely committed, loving parents, it’s hard not to love them,” he said. “I’m pleasantly surprised with the world’s reaction to that particular part of our modern family.”

Mr. Levitan said he and his staff impose a lot of pressure on themselves to keep standards up, even though creative ups and downs are almost unavoidable for long-running TV series.

“We don’t want to be accused of getting soft or resting on our laurels,” he said. “That keeps us on our toes or awake at night.”

'Desperate Housewives' fans shouldn’t wait for movie

The producers of “Desperate Housewives” say the series finale will leave a few loose ends hanging, but cautioned fans against waiting for a reunion movie.

Creator Marc Cherry said that eight seasons have given the ABC series time to “plumb the depths” of the characters played by Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and others in the ensemble cast. “Desperate Housewives” will air its final episode this spring.

He’s very satisfied with where the series stands, Mr. Cherry told the Television Critics Association on Tuesday, the actors alongside him. Mr. Cherry contrasted “Desperate Housewives” with “Sex and the City,” which did fewer episodes and followed its HBO run with two big-screen movies.

Referring to the Middle East-set “Sex and the City 2,” which received largely negative reviews, Mr. Cherry quipped: “I’m just never sending these gals to Dubai.”

He remained mostly mum about how his series will conclude, saying some “old, familiar characters” will return, but that the rest is a secret and “I’m being hyperprotective of it.” Fellow executive producer Bob Daily said the last year of “Desperate Housewives” will include echoes of the first season and serve as a bookend to it.

Whatever the final act, it’s one that Mr. Cherry said he’s been carrying in his head since the show went on the air. Although the show’s writers are embellishing his vision, “the general premise has always been the same,” he said.

He’s also going to keep his promise to make a cameo appearance before the lights go out on Wisteria Lane.

“I’m gonna do a Hitchcock,” he said, referring to Alfred Hitchcock’s tradition of popping up in his films. “The hair and makeup people will go through more hell that day than they ever have.”

Annie Potts returning in new show on ABC

Former “Designing Women” star Annie Potts is connecting with her TV and family roots in the new ABC series “GCB.”

Miss Potts plays a Dallas socialite in the prime-time comedy-drama also known as “Good Christian Belles.” She said she sees a lot of “my beloved Dixie Carter” in the show. Carter, who died at age 70 in 2010, starred with Miss Potts in CBS’ “Designing Women” sitcom that aired from 1986 to 1993.

Miss Potts told the Television Critics Association on Tuesday that her “GCB” character, Gigi, also reflects Miss Potts’ own mother. Series executive producer Robert Harling is a longtime friend of the actress and called her mom, Dot, “magnificent.”

Miss Potts’ mother died a year ago. With a smile, the actress said they can use all her stories in “GCB.”

The series, which debuts March 4 on ABC, also stars Kristin Chenoweth, David James Elliott and Leslie Bibb.

Miss Bibb plays Amanda, a former teenage “mean girl” who goes home to mom (Miss Potts) after her marriage breaks up and has to readjust to a tough world of money and gossip.

The “GCB” title is a cleaned-up version of “Good Christian Bitches,” the 2008 novel by Kim Gatlin that inspired the series. Mr. Harling said the series is a “love letter to Texas” and is about a faith-based group of people, but not any particular religion.

Petition asks ‘Sesame Street’ to feature breastfeeding

There are some who believe “Sesame Street” has been neglecting a particular topic in terms of its educational programming: breastfeeding.

As of Tuesday, nearly 3,000 people had signed an online petition titled “Bring breastfeeding back to ‘Sesame Street.’ “

The group, which says it is sponsored by “breastfeeding mothers and their supporters everywhere,” aims to get 5,000 signatures, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s nursing was tastefully shown on the show but now they have replaced their nursing videos with bottles,” the site says.

The petition says the goal is not to remove bottle feeding from the children’s show, but rather to show both methods of feeding.

“If we normalize breastfeeding in our community, especially with our children, we can help raise a generation of breastfeeders which will support our economy, make for healthier children and lessen the risk of breast cancer for many nursing mamas,” the petition proclaims.

‘Teen Mom’ faces charges over phone calls

A North Carolina woman who stars on MTV’s reality show “Teen Mom 2” has been charged with making harassing phone calls and communicating threats.

Brunswick County sheriff’s Sgt. Del Routh said Jenelle Evans of Oak Island was released on $1,000 bond shortly after her arrest Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. Ms. Evans, 20, did not have a listed telephone number, but attorney Dustin Sullivan said the charges are retribution after she accused a local man of cyberstalking.

Ms. Evans was charged with assault in March after a fight recorded on video. A month later, she received 12 months of probation and community service on a drug paraphernalia charge. Ms. Evans was charged with a probation violation in August after testing positive for marijuana and opiates.

The MTV show documents the challenges of four teens’ first years of motherhood.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.