About six months ago, ABC pulled the reality show ‘Welcome To The Neighborhood’ from its schedule a couple days before its first broadcast, ostensibly because of potentially offensively homophobic comments by some of the contestants and protests from the National Fair Housing Alliance. But an NYT article suggests that the real reason the show got pulled may have been an allegorically Christian lion:
But two producers of the show, speaking publicly about the cancellation for the first time, say the network was confident it had the legal standing to give away a house as a game-show prize. One, Bill Kennedy, a co-executive producer who helped develop the series with his son, Eric, suggested an alternative explanation. He said that the protests might have been most significant as a diversion that allowed the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s owner, to pre-empt a show that could have interfered with a much bigger enterprise: the courting of evangelical Christian audiences for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Disney hoped that the film, widely viewed as a parable of the Resurrection, would be the first in a profitable movie franchise.
In the months and weeks before “Welcome to the Neighborhood” was to have its premiere, as Disney sought to build church support for “Narnia,” four religious groups lifted longtime boycotts of the company that had been largely prompted by Disney’s tolerance of periodic gatherings by gay tourists at its theme parks. Representatives for two of those groups now say that broadcasting “Neighborhood” could have complicated their support for “Narnia.” One, the Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 16 million members, lifted the last of the boycotts against Disney on June 22, a week before ABC announced it was pulling the series.
When asked to respond to Mr. Kennedy’s contention about “Narnia,” Kevin Brockman, an ABC spokesman, said, “That’s so ludicrous, it doesn’t even merit a response.”
Tough call. Whom do you trust more, a network spokesperson or an embittered reality show producer?