Showtime, which has an openly gay president and used to be the home of “the two most sexually explicit gay dramas ever,” has failed its queer audience completely, Aymar Jean Christian writes. Sure, networks in general have backed off gay-centric programming after realizing “they could get a gay audience by writing just one or two marginal characters,” but Showtime, which had huge hits in Queer as Folk and The L Word, “deserves to be chastised for its blatant de-gaying.”
The cable network “relied heavily on subscription rates from gays, taking advantage of their loyalty and gleefully taking their dollars,” Christian writes on Splice Today. “It's easy to forget that when Showtime briefly outdid HBO—after the end of The Sopranos—their rise directly resulted from their gay hits.” Then, when the tide turned, the network cut and ran, worried that it had “become too gay,” and started heterosexing up shows like Weeds and airing splatterfests like Dexter and The Tudors. By abandoning its gay audience, Showtime has gone from cutting edge to "fighting for relevance with a resurgent HBO."