All in the Family: NBC Surrogacy Drama Inconceivable and ABC Mid-Season Comedy Crumbs Acknowledge That, for Many Gays and Lesbians in 2005, It's All about Families

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Just when you thought the broadcast networks would be too skittish to foist queer characters and themes on the red states, along come Inconceivable and Crumbs, two new shows from gay writer-producers about gay men and their families. Oliver Goldstick and Marco Pennette had an idea for a show they thought would be a perfect fit for cable: a series centering on a fertility clinic and several couples trying to have children, with one of those couples being gay. Since both Goldstick and Pennette are in long-term relationships and had both recently become parents through surrogacy, they had plenty of material--both dramatic and comedic--from which to generate interesting story lines.

"My deal was at Disney, so I had to at least take it to the major networks first," says Goldstick, whose credits include Desperate Housewives, Popular, and Everwood. "We went to NBC thinking we'd just walk through the paces. We thought, Who would dare touch this as a series?"

As it turns out, this particular major network dared to place Inconceivable on its fall schedule. "Two guys with children through surrogacy sold the series to NBC!" exclaims Pennette. Inconceivable, set to debut September 23, stars Angie Harmon, Jonathan Cake, and Ming-Na as partners in a fertility clinic; David Norona portrays the clinic's attorney, who has a child with his partner (Jonathan Slavin). "There's so much evolving for domestic partnerships and gay families, I thought it would be great if a lawyer was gay and having a child," says Goldstick. "We just feel that this is another family that needs to be seen on television. These are our lives, and we want something that reflects the lives we are living."

Norona, who is currently expecting his second child with his wife in real life, was immediately drawn to the part. "I knew [Goldstick] was basically writing about himself, a gay man, in a committed relationship, with two babies," the actor says. "I knew he'd write a real human being and not just the comedic sidekick to a straight male lead."

Many of the show's lighter moments, at least initially, will be provided by Slavin's character, who is so afraid the surrogate mother isn't watching her health that he essentially begins stalking her in order to monitor her every move. "He digs through her garbage, spies on her in swim class, and causes her to go into premature labor in the grocery store," Slavin says. …