Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NBC Forces Heroes to De-Gay Zach

The last time I saw Zach on Heroes, the nasty cheerleader skank was picking on him for being gay, and he tells the heroic cheerleader skank that he doesn't care. He's OK with who he is. OK, I thought--That was cool.

Eh, not so much.

An NBC publicist told AfterElton in a phone conversation that Zach "is not gay", that it was something that was "for sure" and "in all certainty." AfterElton contacted NBC for confirmation after being told by Thomas Dekker's management (Dekker plays Zach), the character of Zach is absolutely straight.

AfterElton has the scoop from Heroes' creator Tim Kring, who all but admits the network and the up-and-comming actor's publicity machine forced the change.

I am very sorry this has caused concern for the readers of your website. It was certainly not our intention to confuse the issue of Zach’s character being gay. We have too much respect for our audience to do that intentionally. However, it has simply become too complicated behind the scenes to push this issue further with this particular character. We apologize for misleading the audience, and wish that we could have handled things better on our end. But making a TV show is often a very imprecise business. As you stated, Heroes is a big, sprawling drama and there is no reason to believe that a gay character will not be represented on our show in the future. It is my hope than we do, we do it with honesty and dignity. That will certainly be our attempt.

Yeah, 'cause you did so well the first time. OK, let's be fair: he's probably FLIPPING OUT over this, but there's really nothing he can do short of quitting in protest, which--let's be real--ain't gonna happen.

That said, this kid is a freakin' dirt bag for letting his handlers -- well, *handle* him.

Meanwhile, Tom Dekker isn't long for the show. He's been cast in the Eddie Furlong role in Fox's upcoming Terminator-inspired series, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles."


Anonymous erik said...

The actual reasons for this move aside, having made Zach not only forget his friendship with Claire, but also that he'd accepted that he was gay, could have resulted in an interesting story. Doesn't sound like we'll be seeing him again, though. Ah well. I just hope they don't decide that Sylar's going to be the new gay character.

12/12/06, 10:06 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Hmmmm. Why not? (I didn't think we'd be seeing Zach again, either, but if they're making all this hub-ub about it, then it's pretty clear we *will* be seeing him pretty regularly for the rest of the season, minus the time it takes to shoot the Sarah Connor pilot).

12/13/06, 6:57 PM  
Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/13/06, 7:26 PM  
Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

How cool someone most people have never heard of (and who's lucky to have gotten a job) and their agent can call the shots regarding character and story direction on one the network's few hit television shows. And even cooler the network wouldn't tell them to suck it up and perform the material they were being paid to do.

If I were Kring, I'd write him off the show and save Mr. Dekker and his reps the trouble of having to cash checks received for doing material so objectionable.

12/13/06, 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Yen said...

I don't understand why this always, always has to become a big deal. Sometimes I wonder if the whole slip was engineered to generate more publicity. Ack!

12/14/06, 3:59 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Nah, they don't need this kind of publicity (it's already a huge hit). And I don't think it always becomes a big deal. Ricki on my so-called life never became a big deal (nor did Evan Rachel Wood's character on Once & Again, another show by the same producers).

This is a big deal for one reason: money. The kid's management think he's got a big future as a romantic leading man, and they don't want to foreclose that possibility by letting the producers of Heroes make Zach any more obviously gay than they already have (what with the MySpace page identifying his favorite movies as Priscilla, Hedwig, Velvet Goldmine, and listing his orientation as "not sure" -- plus all the loaded dialogue in the episodes themselves).

I'm still hoping that they simply drop any notion of the character's sexuality rather than actively make him hetero.

12/14/06, 6:13 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Clarification: >> they don't want to foreclose that possibility by letting the producers of Heroes make Zach any more obviously gay than they already have<<<

Not that it *would* necessarily foreclose that possibility, but that's the prevailing belief in casting circles. (It's also possible, BTW, that the kid is *actually* gay, which would make his handlers even more nervous about letting him play a gay character than they would otherwise have been).

12/14/06, 6:15 PM  

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