How many of you know who Ross Mathews, Garcelle Beauvais, Ali Landry, Tanner Thomason, and Amanda Salas are? How many know they host a television program called Hollywood Today Live? How many of you would expect me to be writing about it though? This blog is about the hometown heroes who make a difference in our world - about giving back. When I am not writing about specific people or organizations, I'm making suggestions about how we ALL can make a difference, so why this tv show?
If you are from a marginalized group like people of color, gay, transgender, or foreign-born, you might not have a lot of role models on television. While things are changing for the better, they aren't changing nearly fast enough for me. Often folks seem to wince when a gay or lesbian reference is made, especially on live tv. In 2015 along came a daytime telecast with pop culture stories and entertainment news and lots of interviews with folks who might not have made it on other shows. We heard references to the lack of diversity in both the small screen and the big one. Male guests mentioned their husbands, and it wasn't part of a joke. People were allowed to be people. The program hosts have such great chemistry that you would think they were life-long friends. In short, everyone feels at home here, and isn't it about time?
Today it all ends. Hollywood Today Live will do their final program. In tv land, programs always come and go - this is nothing new, but when it's a show and people who are making a difference, it's a little sad. I know many folks probably dismiss this show as more mindless fluff, but where else could you get a good laugh every day with people just like you? Where else could you see wedding pictures from two men and not have it as a put-down? Where would you see so much diversity without it being staged and fake? For one hour a day, these three women and two men, and the tv show they bring us offer a connection that has made a difference in my life, and hopefully in yours as well.
It was twenty years ago that Ellen DeGeneres came out as gay, both in real life and on her sitcom. Today on her talk show, she is paying tribute to that moment with many of the cast from that history making show. Where I live, that's on the air immediately before the last Hollywood Today Live. This will be a special two hours for me, and I am grateful to both shows for making a difference!