×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Discovery Life’s ‘New Girls on the Block’ Adds to TV’s Focus on Transgender

Discovery Communication’s rebranded Discovery Life channel is looking to the “new frontier” of transgender stories in its effort to bring viewers to the channel, which debuts Jan. 15.

Discovery Life is affording one of its biggest promotional pushes to the six-part docu-series “New Girls on the Block,” which follows a group of transgender women in Kansas City, Mo. Series, set to bow April 2, got a showcase at the Television Critics Assn. press tour on Thursday.

“It’s a new frontier,” “New Girls” exec producer Jay James told Variety of the transgender community on TV, recently highlighted by Amazon’s “Transparent,” which is nominated at this weekend’s Golden Globes, and the popularity of actress Laverne Cox from “Orange Is the New Black.”

“It’s a group of really interesting and compelling characters who haven’t had the chance to tell their stories, and audiences are always on the lookout for what’s next and who are those people that are living in somewhat unobserved worlds,” James said of “New Girls.”

James added, “To be perfectly honest, there’s a natural curiously to see what transgender people are all about.”

James, along with cast members on the panel, says that great storytelling is the series’ top priority, but any social benefit of making viewers more understanding of what it means to be transgender would be a be a “very welcome plus.”

“We’ve got amazing characters, we’ve got really compelling stories, and we’ve got a really interesting world that hasn’t been told on television,” he said. “We’ve never really seen a group of transgender friends just sitting around in a coffee shop.”

Some of those friends happen to be couples. Transgender Robyn Clarke and her boyfriend Andrew Boyce shared their struggles with the TCA audience.

“It’s awkward as hell. To have to go through that time and time again, it takes a toll,” Clarke, who has not been accepted by Boyce’s family, expressed. “At the same time, you just want to be accepted.”

James said that the show covers much more than the struggle of transitioning, referring to a few funny moments, such as tackling online dating. “What will be surprising is how ordinary some of the scenarios are that become extraordinary because transgender people are involved,” he said.

“New Girls on the Block” is produced by Conveyor Media in association with Reality Road. Discovery Life is the makeover of the channel now airing as Discovery Fit & Health.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Courtney Kemp Agboh'Power' TV show final

    'Power' Creator Courtney A. Kemp On Why Starz Series Hasn't Gotten Awards Recognition

    “Power” is a top ratings performer for Starz and has a hugely committed fanbase, but the series has lacked in its awards recognition. Other than honors from the NAACP Image Awards, “Power” has not received any awards or nominations from the Emmys, Golden Globes or SAG — something that star and executive producer Curtis “50 [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Breaking Bad

    'Breaking Bad' Movie Release Date, Title and Plot Revealed

    The “Breaking Bad” movie is coming to Netflix sooner than you might think. The film, titled “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” is now set to be released on Netflix on Oct. 11, according to a report from the New York Times, with Aaron Paul returning as the series’ popular meth cook Jesse Pinkman. Jesse [...]

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers on Disney, Spinoffs

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Potential Disney Spinoffs, Confirm Apu Will Remain

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content