Newscoma Has Moved
Friday, November 03, 2006
  Nashville's Channel 5 Disinvites Delta Burke and Leslie Jordan Just got this off the innertubes. Channel 5 has disinvited Burke and Jordan to promote a play that has *gasp* gay themes. Jeez. Here's the plays official website. From my understanding, it's playing at the Polk at TPAC. Here is the release in it's entirety.
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NASHVILLE¹S CBS UN-INVITES DELTA BURKE & LESLIE JORDAN ON TALK OF THE TOWN DUO SET TO APPEAR ON NOVEMBER 10TH TO PROMOTE TWO PRODUCTIONS OF DEL SHORES¹ AWARD-WINNING PLAYS: SORDID LIVES & SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES The Official Tour is currently crossing the country ­ having played in San Diego, Dallas, Palm Springs, and St. Louis - - remaining stops include: Nashville on November 10, 11 & 12 at the Polk Theatre and Ft. Lauderdale on November 17, 18 & 19 at the Broward Center¹s Parker Playhouse LOS ANGELES, CA (November 3, 2006) ­ On September 28, 2006 a News Channel 5 (WTVF ­ CBS affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee) producer for the local talk show ³Talk of the Town² (airs daily at 11:00AM) invited both Leslie Jordan and Delta Burke to appear on Friday, November 10th to promote the national tour of Del Shores¹ two award-winning plays ­ Southern Baptist Sissies and Sordid Lives. The same producer uninvited the actors on October 20th per the following email: ³Sorry, but after closely reviewing the subject matter of the two plays written and directed by Del Shores I have decided that it would not be in the best interest of Talk of the Town to [have] an actor come on the show to discuss the plays. We are dealing with a very conservative viewership who I feel would be offended by the show's titles and their topics.² ­ Producer, Talk of the Town "Somehow I think that the people of Nashville are a little more diverse and open-minded than the producers of "Talk of the Town" are giving them credit for -- at least that's been my experience in one of my favorite cities," said Writer/Director/Producer Del Shores (Queer as Folk, Dharma & Greg). "And can we briefly discuss the name of the show ­ ŒTalk of the Town?¹ Well, Delta Burke and Leslie Jordan will be in town and I know for a fact that people are already talking about it. Yes, the producers have every right to have on their show whomever they choose -- but the fact remains that they invited Leslie and Delta, then uninvited them citing ŒWe are dealing with a very conservative viewership who I feel would be offended by the show's title and their topics.¹ The names of the plays have been the same since day one. The gay subject matter is pretty apparent from our press release and with a title like Southern Baptist Sissies? C'mon! My plays are about finding strength in who you are and there is no way I can come to town and hide, pretending this did not occur. It's more than unfortunate that two stars of Delta Burke and Leslie Jordan's caliber were treated with such utter disrespect -- and frankly, I find it appalling. If Tyler Perry's stars were uninvited on a talk show due to the"black" subject matter of his plays, people would be screaming racism so fast your head would spin. But somehow, it's still okay to discriminate against gays. This is blatant homophobia!" "Having recently won one of the highest awards an actor in my profession can be awarded (The Emmy for Will & Grace), I was looking forward to my appearance in Nashville (my home state) to share this great triumph with my fellow Tennesseans," Leslie Jordan, a Chattanooga native said. "This denial from the producer of a local TV show came as a major slap in the face. If she only knew the personal struggle involved from stepping off the bus in downtown Hollywood in 1982, shame ridden and determined to keep my sexual orientation a secret to the confident openly gay man who stood before an audience of my peers twenty-four years later and accepted such a prestigious award. I certainly realize that she has the right to pick and choose whom she has on her show but I too, have the right to vent my anger at such narrow mindedness. I'm assuming that by Œconservative audience¹ she means Christians who might be offended by the title. What in the world is offensive about "sissies"? And when is it offensive to question the beliefs that were handed to us as children? Even Christ sat in the garden and questioned. And no matter what your beliefs are about homosexuality, did Christ not teach to "love one another" and to "judge not lest you be judged?" To quote Deepak Choopra in a recent newspaper article, 'The reversal of Christianity from a religion of love to a religion of hate is the greatest religious tragedy of our time.' Apparently not much has changed since February 14, 1982, when I boarded that bus determined to put The South behind me for good. This producer more than anyone else I know needs to hear the message of love and tolerance that Southern Baptist Sissies conveys. Shame on you, "Talk of the Town." "Well, talk about your Southern hospitality," Burke joked. "Seriously, though, this play is about love and acceptance and has a beautiful message. It's full of hope and should be shared with everybody. It needs to be seen. And somehow, I think a city like Nashville that is filled with art and culture can handle this "subject matter". It would have been nice for the Nashville people to make up their own minds, instead of having a producer speak for them. It's really kind of sad." Southern Baptist Sissies is an exploration into the lives of four gay men raised in the church. Through laughter and tears, each story unfolds to reveal a struggle for self-discovery. The play originally opened at the Zephyr Theatre in 2000. The show then came back to Los Angeles (after a sold-out run in Dallas) in 2002. It again was launched in Los Angeles in 2006 for a revival of all six Shores plays. The GLAAD Award-Winning Southern Baptist Sissies has made L.A. history - as the longest running play on the Zephyr Theatre's stage, and will be made into a feature film in 2007 (with Delta Burke already attached). Sordid Lives is a black comedy about white trash! In the ³coming out² story, three generations of a small Texas family prepare for a funeral, and that's when the hilarious, sad, trashy truth about their lives runs amuck! The original production opened in 1996 at Los Angeles' Theatre Theatre and was sold-out for its entire 14 month run. In 2001 the play was made into a feature film starring Olivia Newton-John, Delta Burke, Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia and Leslie Jordan. Both plays have won more than 40 prestigious Los Angeles theatre awards (LA Drama Critics, Back Stage West Garland, LA Weekly, Ovation, GLAAD Media Award), and this year, the LA Weekly Theatre Awards honored Del Shores with their Career Achievement Award. The tour kicked off in San Diego in August and has been to San Diego, Dallas, Palm Springs, and St. Louis. The plays have been well received, selling out in several cities (1000 - 1,700 seat houses) - in Dallas breaking records with more tickets sold than any prior production this year (including Broadway tours). Shores most recently sold his new television series Sordid Lives the Series to MTV¹s new network LOGO. Delta Burke made her Los Angeles stage debut in ŠSissies, with the show marking her tour debut as well. Burke can currently be seen on the ABC series Boston Legal, and will also be a judge at the upcoming Miss America Pageant. Leslie Jordan, 2006 Emmy Winner for his work on Will & Grace, stars in both plays, and can currently be seen on the CW series Hidden Palms. Jordan is also working on 12 Miles of Bad Road, a new HBO series with Lily Tomlin. Sordid Lives cast members include Leslie Jordan* (Will & Grace, Boston Legal), Dale Dickey* (Domino, My Name is Earl), Patrika Darbo (Days of Our Lives), singer Debby Holiday, singer Sean Wiggins, Mary-Margaret Lewis* (Kalamazoo, Friends), Ann Walker* (Las Vegas, Sex, Love & Secrets), Mitch Carter* (Children of the Corn), Newell Alexander* (HBO¹s Big Love), Sarah Hunley* (Ghosts of Mississippi, The Ghost Whisperer), David Cowgill and Rosemary Alexander* (Madhouse) and introducing Jason Dottley. (*also starred in the film version of Sordid Lives) Southern Baptist Sissies cast members include Delta Burke (Designing Women), Leslie Jordan, Dale Dickey, Newell Alexander, Ted Detwiler (The Ring Two), Joe Patrick Ward, Anthony Cherry (Blast Off!), Scott Presley (America¹s Next Top Model), Emerson Collins (The Secret Garden), Rich Delia (Strong Medicine), T. Ashanti Mozelle (Angels in America: Perestroika), and David Ojalvo (Down Hearted Blues).
Shame on you Channel 5. This is ridiculous. 
They sure Lord didn't hesitate to tell (and link to) all the Sara Evans gruesome tacky filth, though. And salivate a little while doing it.

You can tell May Dean Eberling has retired. She'd've at least *listened* and talked with them. And Patrika Darbo? You can't tell me Channel 4 isn't going to play the "Days of Our Lives" card to promote this thing.

I'm tempted to go to it with a big gang of people. All wearing "We voted NO on No. 1" t-shirts.
That's a great idea. You know, it's ironic regarding Delta Burke, because her husband, Gerald McRaney is a huge supporter of the Republican party.
Channel 5 doesn't have any faith in its watchers.
And Leslie Jordan is from Chattanooga.
Actually, I think Burke and Jordan will most likely be very funny together.
You should all research your information before jumping to conclusions. Del Shores and his publicity seeking group were never "invited" to start with - they were in discussions with Channel 5. Channel 5 requested that they go on their gay show "Out & About Today" to which Del Shores responded to one of their producers "that's like putting us in the back of the bus." Since this release was sent out by Del Shores, it only shows one side. If you notice, he seeks and generates publicity and controversy in every city he takes his plays. Probably because he can't sell enough tickets on his own. What's ashame is that he was proud enough to appear on channel 5's gay show.
Umm, printed the release, NNJ.
You have duly scolded me.
As I said, this was the release and I printed it as it was sent out all over.
I actually did look up Del Shores before I posted this.
Thanks for visiting and giving us some more information.
Hi my name is Jason Dottley and I produce the tour you are talking about. I just want to say that we could not have released this statement without the facts being straight. We do keep our legal ducks in a row. Regardless of what this news junkie says, we WERE invited and have the proof to back it up. There's some inside business going on at Out and About Nashville that is causing us backlash. Those in the know, know what I'm taling about, and they didn't want us to stir things up at Channel 5 when they dis-invited us to appear due to the subject matter of our plays. This is the type of homophobia our plays hope to give us all the strength to fight. We don't hide. We don't accecpt the back of the bus and we are not going to let the people of Nashville down by accepting this type of homophobia. I hate that this has turned into a "publicity stunt", but that's what can be said about anything done publicly. I applaud Del Shores and the community who supports us for standing up to this. And you, Newscoma, were totally right to report what you have reported. We couldn't say these things if they were'nt true, we'd be sued. We can't wait to get to Nashville and entertain you all.
Hi. Del Shores here. First of all, I'd like to thank all of those in Nashville who have sent me supportive letters regarding my position regarding Leslie Jordan and Delta Burke being uninvited to appear on "Talk of the Town".

It's not hard for me to figure out who Junkie is -- and now I'll share with you the entire truth of this situation -- addressing the blatant lies in Junkie's post.

And Junkie, do you really think that I would release something this strong without documentation to prove what the release states? Do you think I didn't run this past my lawyer? Do you think I would open myself up to legal ramifications by stating untruths? Something you should consider the next time you attempt to slander someone.

So, one by one I'll address Junkie's lies --


"Del Shores and his publicity seeking group were never "invited" to start with - they were in discussion with Channel 5."


Here is the email from the producer of Channel 5 (names and email addresses have been deleted) to my publicist.

To: Publicist
Date: Sep 28, 2006 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: Delta Burke & Leslie Jordan - two plays - Nashville November 10-12th

Hi Ed,

Could we get Delta & Leslie to come on Talk of the Town on November 10th?

(name deleted)
"Talk of the Town"


After several more email exchanges and clearing Leslie Jordan's schedule and working on clearing Delta Burke's -- which was cleared right before we received the following email --

From: (Producer)
To: (Publicist)
Date: Oct 20, 2006 1:33 PM
Subject: Re: Delta Burke & Leslie Jordan - two plays - Nashville November 10-12th


Sorry, but after closely reviewing the subject matter of the two plays written and directed by
Del Shores I have decided that it would not be in the best interest of Talk of the Town to an actor come on the show to discuss the plays. We are dealing with a very conservative viewership who I feel would be offended by the show's titles and their topics.

I hope you understand.

"Talk of the Town"

Our response --

From: (Publicist)
To: (producer)
Date: Oct 20, 2006 3:00 PM
Subject: Re: Delta Burke & Leslie Jordan - two plays - Nashville November 10-12th

(name deleted):

I appreciate your honesty, but I'm sorry... I really do not understand. I'm not sure why you would want to silence us - after being so interested. If it is fear of what the audience will think or say, then I'll say this... I always ask people to change "gay" with "black" - - - would you think it was okay to do / say the same thing?

If you are concerned, than this is exactly why they need to hear the message and come see these plays. There is nothing to fear with a theatrical production - you can learn from it though. We are talking about award-winning productions (mainstream theatre awards - Del Shores is the most awarded playwright in Los Angeles).

I would like to discuss this with you further. Never has anyone said that to me before - I'm a bit shocked... and we have played in Dallas - the buckle of the bible belt - several times. We are in St. Louis next weekend - a very conservative Catholic town - we are booked on every news station.

I'm rather concerned that you are censoring what the public can know about - it's okay for people to have differences of opinion - but to not let them have one at all is wrong... I feel that by not telling them about these two award-winning plays would be just that.

After all - your show name is Talk of the Town... from what you wrote, I think this fits the bill nicely then.

Thank you.


That was the last time we heard from "Talk of the Town" after several more unreturned emails and unreturned phone calls --


Channel 5 requested that they go on their gay show "Out and About Today" --


To this day, we have NEVER been invited to appear on "Out and About Today" from Channel 5 or the executive producer of both shows. Here is the chain of events ---

After not hearing from "Talk of the Town" we cried fowl and released all the email exchanges to Daniel Kent, the Arts and Entertainment Editor of "Out and About", who had interviewed all of us.

And that's when shit hit the fan.

Our publicist then received an email from Jerry Jones, the publisher of "Out and About" accusing us of stirring up negative controversy to sell tickets. He wrote that the real reason for Leslie and Delta being pulled from the November 10th show was NOT the one given to us in the email, but that since both "Talk of the Town" and "Out and About Today" shared the same executive producer, she wanted us to appear on "Out and About" because that show was better suited for our"demographic". Jones said he agreed with her decision. That reason, of course, was never mentioned in the email from the "Talk of the Town" producer, so I interpreted this as "spin" to try and shut us up. I told Jones I would be happy to appear on "Out and About Today" -- as would my actors -- but we had not been invited. He assured me we would be.

Next, I spoke to Brent Meredith (editor of "Out and About" magazine and host of "Out and About Today" and a real sweatheart, by the way). He informed me that they were taping their show when we would not be in town, but I told him Jason Dottley -- producer of The Official Tour and star of "Sordid Lives" (Ty) -- would be in town the day of his taping. He was thrilled and invited Jason on "Out and About Today" -- but said he would have to get final approval from the executive producer.

The next morning I received a very angry phone call from Daniel Kent, telling me we had to drop this, reiterating the real reason for Delta and Leslie being bumped was because they felt "Out and About Today" was a better show for us, better suited for our "demographic". To Daniel and Jerry, I stated -- why can't we do both? Delta Burke is the queen of Lifetime these days and somehow I think her demographic is probably just as suited for "Talk of the Town" viewers. Why do we just have to be on the cable show and not the network affiliate? However, out of respect for Daniel and Jerry, I did say we would not release the story if we got an invitation from the executive producer of both shows to appear on "Out and About Today" and an apology for how this was handled. Daniel assured me he would make both happen and I left the phone call feeling all was good.

Ed, our publicist, then received a phone call from the executive producer of both shows. Not only did she refuse to apologize, stating they could have whomever they chose on their show (which of course is true), but then she gave yet another reason for pulling us -- that we hadn't delivered Delta Burke. Ed told her that he never had the chance, she was definitely available and willing to do the show -- so to please rebook them. There was also a short discussion about Jason appearing on "Out and About Today". The executive producer stated she would talk to her station manager about both appearances and they would get back to Ed if "they wanted to." They never have.

The next phone call came from Brent Meredith to Jason Dottley. Apologizing profusely, he said that the executive producer did not want any of us on either show, given the way we had handled this situation. (Of course, we felt we handled this with dignity, giving them every opportunity to right a wrong).


"Del Shores responded to one of their producers "that's like putting us in the back of the bus."


When speaking to Jerry Jones, I spoke about how I believe that we should use the Civil Rights Movement as a paradigm for how we fight for equality - to stop being weak and cowardly, but to stay strong, fearless and fight for what is right. I paraphrased the following quote from Rosa Parks: "I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in." My point to Jerry was that I was tired of some of our community giving in without a fight. But before I could make my point clear, he became very angry and said, "Are you calling my show 'the back of the bus'. I assured him I wasn't, that I admired greatly that Nashville had their own gay show. But now of course, my comment is being misquoted and misconstrued to fit the agenda of those misquoting me.


"If you notice, he seeks and generates publicity and controversy in every city..."


Please tell me about all this controversy. Yes, recently, I've had a religious talk show host go after me in San Diego and the Southern Baptists went after me in Dallas in 2002 because of my production there of "Southern Baptist Sissies", but never did I seek or generate it. However, I am not someone who will ever stand silent when injustice is served on a big homophobic platter. And I certainly don't contend that I represent the entire gay community, but I will never back down from controversy when it is presented to me. And if it sells tickets to my shows, I'll take that too.

Thanks for listening. I hope to see you all at TPAC.

My very best,

Del Shores
Thanks for stopping by Del and giving us your side.
I really appreciate it.
Hope I can make it to TPAC for the show.
Also, thanks Jason.
I really felt this press release needed to be posted.
Once again, thanks so much for stopping by newscoma.
Channel 5 has every right to choose their guests . . . and it is certainly their choice not to try and push the moral envelope on this issue. Indeed, I'd say the Channel 5 has wisely discerned that more than 80% of their audience isn't persuaded that homosexual attraction is the same as the color of one's skin.
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