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Pride TV Summit Hones in on the Business of Inclusion

Nicole Maines of The CW’s Supergirl will take part in a panel on the nuances of casting for LGBTQ+ roles on television.
Nicole Maines of The CW’s Supergirl will take part in a panel on the nuances of casting for LGBTQ+ roles on television. (Image credit: The CW)

With Pride Month celebrations in full swing, Broadcasting+Cable and Multichannel News are gearing up for the first-ever Pride TV Summit virtual conference June 23, focused on the business of television featuring LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. 

Unlike other Pride events that focus on entertainment value and performances, the Pride TV Summit is a business conference that puts the spotlight on relevant LGBTQ+ issues and challenges within the TV and streaming industry. It also honors individuals and companies who are committed to creating strong and more meaningful representation across distribution platforms.

“We have gathered leading creatives, brands, and executives to participate in our program at the Pride TV Summit,” said event producer Joe Schramm. “This event proves that targeting TV and video programming to LGBTQ+ audiences, and about the LGBTQ+ community is simple, good business. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or not, this event is worth your time.”

More on the Pride TV Summit: Register | GLAAD's Sarah Kate Ellis Primes TV's 'Empathy Machine'

A Sense of Where Things Are

With the number of LGBTQ+ characters on scripted broadcast, cable and streaming shows declining during the pandemic-challenged 2020-21 television season according to GLAAD’s annual Where We Are on TV report released earlier this year, the conference will examine the importance and impact of representation, how LGBTQ+ characters and storylines have evolved and the overall acceptance of LGBTQ+ characters and storylines.

“We continue to see that the industry and audiences are extremely engaged and interested in the growing landscape of LGBTQ+ content across media today,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “As we aim to grow authentic LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion, the Pride TV Summit and events like it help give best practices and guidance to ensure impactful content that will also be well-received."

Among the highlights of the event is a panel discussion featuring programming executives discussing the sensitive and controversial nuances of casting LGBTQ roles in today’s market. The panel will feature actor Nicole Maines, who plays the first first transgender superhero on television in CW’s Supergirl, as well Star Trek: Discovery casting director Margery Simkin, NBC Telemundo Enterprises executive producer Karen Barroetta and Batwoman writer/producer/showrunner Caroline Dries. 

The Summit will also feature key interviews with content creators such as three-time Emmy nominee Randy Rainbow as well as a session featuring TV critics who review top programs to watch for the Pride season.

Opening the conference will be a focus on the state of the current marketplace and the impact of LGBTQ+ programming from Hollywood to the TV screen. Luis Sandoval from Univision’s Despierta America will host the opening festivities. 

The event will also feature a series of presentations, case studies and candid conversations from advertisers and sponsors targeting LGBTQ+ audiences, including representatives from such companies as P&G and Getty Images.

Honoring the Leaders

MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart is among the on-screen talent award winners.

MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart is among the on-screen talent award winners. (Image credit: MSNBC)

A main highlight of the Pride TV Summit is The Pride TV Leadership and Courage Awards Ceremony which will showcase industry leaders advocating for the LGBTQ+ community on television. The Membership or Employee Association award will be presented to Comcast, while The CW will receive the Television Network award. The Media Agency award will go to the RAPP marketing agency. 

GLAAD’s Ellis will receive the Advocacy award, while on-screen talent awards will go to ABC News transportation correspondent Gio Benitez and MSNBC’s The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart host Jonathan Capehart. 

Producer Ilene Chaiken will receive the Pride TV Awards’ Leadership and Courage award for her groundbreaking work as executive producer of such shows as Showtime’s The L Word, Fox’s Empire and more recently, NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.