The Channel for Gay America? A Cultural Criticism of The Logo Channel’s Commercial Success on American Cable Television
Degree Granting Department
Elizabeth Bell, Ph.D.
David Johnson, Ph.D.
Sara Crawley, Ph.D.
Advertisement, Programming, Queer, Sexuality, Activism
Logo currently holds a self-described monopoly as the "Gay Channel for America." Logo stands alone as the single most concentrated national-level vehicle of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) visibility in the post millennial television era. The Logo Channel has reaped financial rewards from its strategy as a business entity, as LGBT American television viewers embraced its presence as a signifier to America that gays and lesbians have finally "made it".
First, any claim to a monopoly deserves critical attention for its place in mainstream television, for its business practices, and for the power it holds in representing and targeting LGBT audiences. Second, Logo's construction of its audience is an extremely important window into current perceptions of LGBT identity, history, and progress. Third, Logo's ability to capitalize on gay and lesbian visibility in American culture and the rhetoric of "inclusiveness" are important historical and cultural moments to explore the political costs and benefits of these strategies-in business practices, programming content, and advertisements.
In this study, I argue that Logo does not capitalize on its television presence to participate in LGBT political, economic, and social equality. Despite its significant visibility and messages of "inclusiveness" in American popular culture, Logo contributes to the perpetuation of negative and narrow stereotypes of consumerist gay culture, as it marginalizes ethnic minorities and women, through a variety of conformist, self-serving practices that undermine the libratory opportunity it holds for its LGBT viewers.
Chapter Two "Another Lost Opportunity" examines a brief history of the cable television industry, the television business model and the representations of gays and lesbians on television to draw a parallel social history centered on visibility. Chapter Three "Like Taking Candy from a Baby" examines three reoccurring series on Logo: Noah's Arc, Can't Get a Date, and Round-Trip Ticket. Chapter Four "Easy as Shooting Fish In a Barrel" examines the histories of 1) television advertising, 2) the risks and benefits of advertising on Logo, and 3) the history of gay and lesbian print advertising. This history lays the foundation for 4) exploring contemporary constructions of Logo's target market as the "ideal demographic."
Scholar Commons Citation
Johnson, Michael Jr., "The Channel for Gay America? A Cultural Criticism of The Logo Channel’s Commercial Success on American Cable Television" (2008). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.