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'South' Scores Points With GLADD, Viewers

Cable networks led the way in nominations at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards, presented by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to recognize inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in mainstream media. One of those nominees happened to be a teen drama that has garnered attention and praise for its handling of sensitive, real-life issues.

The N’s South of Nowhere, which debuted last November, was nominated in the outstanding drama series category. And though it lost out to Showtime’s The L Word, it still won high marks from GLAAD.

“The N’s South of Nowhere was nominated in the outstanding drama series category because it’s just that,” said Damon Romine, entertainment media director GLAAD.

“This is a teen cable series that is a terrific example of how a series with an ensemble cast and multiple stories can be inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters.”

South follows the members of the Calvin clan, a multiracial family from a small town in Ohio that relocates to Los Angeles. The series’ main characters include Spencer Calvin, a sexually conflicted teenager, and her friend Ashley, who is equally comfortable dating a basketball star or other girls.

“Whether they’re gay or straight, young viewers can be both entertained and educated by stories that reflect the diversity of families and communities across the country,” said Romine. “Successful and popular cable programs seamlessly weave our stories and relationships into the fabric of shows that have a broad and mainstream audience, reflecting how our lives intersect with the larger culture.”

The series seems to have connected with young viewers, who were able to get a sneak peak of the season one finale on Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store. The preview wound up on the “Top 10” list of most popular program downloads, a first for a teen drama.

“TV is reflective of its culture,” said South of Nowhere creator Tom Lynch, who noted that there are abundantly more gay- and lesbian-themed programming choices available compared to 10 years ago. “It has become a part of the programming landscape, while helping some cable networks find an identity of their own.”

The N picked up South for a second season, and production of 13 new half-hour episodes is underway. Season two is set to begin airing in October.