TV's Holy Mess
Stockwell, Anne, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Hollywood insiders say ABC's religious drama Nothing Sacred
may have hit its finest hour with an episode titled "HIV Priest:
News at 11!" But barring a miracle, it's an hour you'll never see.
ABC and parent company Disney have repeatedly postponed
the episode, in which Father Ray (Kevin Anderson) struggles to
dissuade a friend from leaving the priesthood because he's gay
and has AIDS. In an angry January 9 interview with the Los
Angeles Times, Nothing Sacred's creators accused ABC and
Disney of burying "HIV Priest" to placate such enemies as the
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which last year
almost crippled the series with a boycott. ABC admits only that
"HIV Priest" hasn't been scheduled yet. (The network declined
to comment for this article.) What's really going on? Nothing
Sacred writer and executive story editor Jan Oxenberg, who is
lesbian, gave The Buzz an exclusive look behind the scenes.
Did ABC give you permission to shout "HIV Priest"?
ABC approved it from the beginning. It was
to be the first episode after the pilot. Then the
Catholic groups started their boycott, and advertisers
began pulling out of the show. Under that pressure
ABC said, "We're postponing [the AIDS episode]."
We had already shot it. The decision was made at the
They postponed the episode more than once?
They decided not to show it as the very first episode. Then it
was going to be one of the first six. Then it was going to be one
of the first 12. Now it's completely up in the air.
Are most Catholics opposed to Nothing Sacred?
Many Catholic publications have come out in favor of the show. About
135 Catholic clergy signed an ad run by People for the American
Way. The archbishop of Los Angeles made a statement of
support. ABC ran full-page ads in national newspapers with
quotes from Catholic leaders.
With such support, why hasn't the AIDS episode aired by now? …