TLC's president thinks the time is right to air an unscripted series about a transgender person
After his secret struggle, reality TV father and former Olympian Bruce Jenner is "finally happy" and transitioning into a woman. Subscribe now to read the REAL story behind his life-changing decision in PEOPLE.
Is Bruce Jenner helping pave the way for transgender people on reality TV?
The former Olympian’s decision to televise his transition into a woman could open up a whole new sub-genre of reality programming, PEOPLE has learned.
“I think that the world is ready to watch an unscripted series about a transgender person,” Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC & Animal Planet, tells PEOPLE. “Through the production community, we know there are a lot of people ready to be seen and a lot of producers looking to make that happen. The question is how the content will be handled.”
Kaplan says scripted shows like Transparent – which stars the Golden Globe-winning Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender person – and Orange is the New Black – which features the first openly transgender actress Laverne Cox – “have done groundbreaking work to open the door.”
“At TLC we ve often shared stories of remarkable people living compelling lives. And we think it’s time to explore this topic with real people, to tackle misconceptions, prejudices, and confusion, and share the authentic stories of real people facing life-altering decisions in an effort to be true to who they are,” Kaplan says. “Ultimately, we are hopeful any programming in this space contributes to a positive and open conversation about and with the transgender community.”
E! has yet to confirm whether it will air Jenner’s docu-series, but multiple sources have told PEOPLE that the 65-year-old reality star is filming his journey and will share it with viewers this year.
“It will air when he is ready to be open about his transition,” the source tells PEOPLE.
Hollywood’s decision to include more transgender men and women on TV isn’t limited to just scripted and unscripted series. Inside Edition broke new ground this month by hiring former TV news helicopter pilot Zoey Tur, who will become one of the first ever transgender reporters in the U.S. Formerly known as Chopper Bob, Tur provided live coverage via helicopter of the 1994 police chase involving O.J. Simpson.