ABC drops cross-dressing sitcom
US television network ABC has announced the cancellation of cross-dressing comedy Work It after only two episodes.
The plot of the series centred on two unemployed men who dress up as women in order to land jobs as sales representatives for a pharmaceutical company.
Before its even aired, the show drew harsh criticism from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the US’ largest gay rights group, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), who feared the show would reinforce mistaken stereotypes about transgender people.
GLAAD's acting president Mike Thompson said at the time, “[Work It] will reinforce the mistaken belief that transgender women are simply ‘men pretending to be women,’ and that their efforts to live their lives authentically as women are a form of lying or deception.”
The groups protested the show in a full page ad which appeared in show business magazine Variety under the headline “Work It will harm transgender people.”
On hearing of the show's cancellation, Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD said in a statement:
"While many of ABC's positive and groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT people have been critical and popular successes, the public had little interest in this outdated show. As a result of this campaign, an important dialogue has been started in Hollywood and mainstream media about the real discrimination faced by transgender people today."
Work It, however, was pulled due to a combination of low ratings and bad reviews.
ABC entertainment president Paul Lee said he "didn't get," the objections to the show, comparing it to Tootsie.
"I thought there was room personally for a very, very, very, very silly show," he said.
The show was cancelled after it debuted to poor ratings and viewer numbers dipped by 20 per cent on its second airing.