Uptown Bourgeois is an arts, news, and culture blog created by New York-based freelance writer Jefferey Spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

When Did Logo Become the Gay TV Land?

Ah, Logo.  Aside from the feverish success of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which kicked off its 8th season two weeks ago, it was my favorite network to hate.  Whether it was the college TV production class-quality of Noah’s Arc or the predictable romance plotlines of movies like Latter Days and A Four Letter Word, the channel never offered quality content that could really compete with any other network.  While I did thoroughly enjoy seeing a pre-Don Jon Joseph Gordon Levitt play a stoic Mormon missionary, Logo’s TV lineup often felt like the underbelly of a nasty Netflix binge.  Each day played out as though network execs meticulously followed every recommendation from the line, Because You Watched Noah’s Arc.

I felt obligated to support the network because there was nowhere else on TV where I could access gay programming 24/7.  Founded in 2005, Logo surfaced at a time where gay visibility was still muted and limited to stereotypical supporting roles.  The network had its eyes set on becoming the queen of all gay media.  The A-List: New York was a Real Housewives offshoot that aimed to make Logo the gay Bravo.  The Big Gay Sketch Show proved the channel wanted to be the gay Comedy Central.  And shows like Drag U and Untucked showed that network execs wanted to squeeze every bit of lucrative juice out of RuPaul’s dynamic on-air personality.  Though none of these shows ever succeeded in reaching their full potential or securing more than a cult audience, they showed promise for a network that was doing something no one else was. 

Unfortunately, aside from reruns of Drag Race, you’d never even know you were watching Logo these days.  A quick perusal of the next 7 days of its TV schedule reveal nothing more than syndicated reruns of popular shows that often have no real ties to a gay audience.  Take today for instance.  The next 24 hours feature an SNL marathon that then bleeds into an I Dream of Jeannie marathon.  Primetime viewing hours are filled with blocks of The Golden Girls and The Nanny while random late night hours are sprinkled with older original programming, gay audience classics like Cruel Intentions, or episodes of NewNowNext.

It seems like parent company Viacom is slowly morphing Logo into a sorta kinda gay-focused TVLand, and RuPaul is the only hope of survival.  The only other new programming on the horizon is The GLAAD Awards and a new RuPaul game show vehicle titled Gay For Play. 

In October of last year, the network claimed that it had its highest ratings year ever.  It’s hard to believe considering that new original programming is so scarce.  It seems Logo’s success is being driven primarily through Drag Race and little else.  The channel seems like a total squandered opportunity.  It’s odd that, given RuPaul’s success, the programming team didn’t rack its collective brains to resurrect some other gay cultural icons.  Perhaps a reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? A second life for Tim Gunn the solo star?  Maybe even a Huff Post Live-style news show that specifically targets the LGBT community?

The NewNowNext section of Logo’s website functions as a sort of gay-focused Buzzfeed with everything from hard-hitting political news to pop culture humor.  It seems, with a team focused on constantly producing this type of content, that their efforts could easily translate into at least one hour of new programming for the network.

Logo may not have been my favorite with its severe opportunity for higher quality content.  But its move toward syndication hell doesn’t show a promising future.  The LGBT community needs this network, and we need the team behind it to keep trying.  Please, Logo don’t give up.  I can watch The Golden Girls somewhere else.  Even if the channel becomes the RuPaul Network, it’ll be better than becoming a wasteland for the sitcoms of decades past.

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