CW Developing Drama About Transgender Teenager From Producer Michael London

EXCLUSIVE: The CW is taking on a controversial subject with ZE, a drama project centering on a transgender teenager. Written by Brooklyn-based writer-playwright Kyle Jarrow and executive produced by Michael London (Milk), ZE is described as a raw, quirky family drama about a FTM (female-to-male) teen and his family. A personal choice takes on controversial public significance when a Texas teenager announces she is transgender and will be living life as a boy. As his dysfunctional family spirals into identity crises of their own, he discovers that he might be the most well-adjusted of them all.  CBS TV Studios is producing ZE, whose title represents a non-gender-specific reference (like he or she). While there have been a handful of transgender characters on broadcast series, most notably one played by Rebecca Romijn on ABC’s Ugly Betty, this is the first time a transgender person would be the lead of a primetime show. Jarrow is used to tackling sensitive topics; he won an Obie Award at age 24 for his Off-Broadway hit A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant.

He penned the 2010 Sundance film Armless and the upcoming indie Saint Janet and recently developed Inside, a cop drama for FX with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s production company, and Nowhere, an adventure drama for MTV. Jarrow, repped by CAA and Madhouse Entertainment, also leads the rock band Sky-Pony. Upcoming projects include the plays Ana and the American Dream (a commission by Lincoln Center Theater) and Noir (a new musical written with Tony winner Duncan Sheik). WME-repped London executive produces the Amazon comedy series Betas.

Comments (168)

  • Wow…talk about a way to appeal to a small viewer demo! Most likely won’t get passed the script stage…

    Comment by IRON WILL — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:10pm PDT  
    • Just like “Breaking Bad” only appeals to meth dealers, and “Scandal” is only for DC political operatives. Everyone knows “Grey’s Anatomy” is only watched by oversexed doctors, and “Mad Men” is only watched by people who time-traveled here from the 1960s, and “Elementary” is just for transplanted British detectives and their ex-doctor best friends, and are you getting an idea yet of how idiotic this sounds?

      Comment by Cor — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 6:50pm PDT  
      • Agreed. I’m not transgender but I’d certainly at least watch the pilot and give it a chance.

        Comment by Mike — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 8:38pm PDT  
        • Good fir yoooo, Mike!

          Comment by Ugh! — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 8:18am PDT  
      • I don’t watch any of those shows. And neither does my family. We won’t be watching this one, just as we also don’t watch the Fosters. Produce a show about a healthy FAMILY, without the social and political statements, and we’ll consider watching it.

        Comment by Chris — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 5:32am PDT  
        • I have a friend who won’t go to any film that she feels will challenge her or cause her to think. Escapism and rose colored glasses aids her attempt to avoid reality at all costs.

          Comment by caley mcguire — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 11:40pm PDT  
        • Don’t worry. No one cares.

          Comment by Alexander — Monday September 16, 2013 @ 9:06am PDT  
      • make whatever asinine case you want. this will fail miserably. watch.

        Comment by caligula — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 7:14am PDT  
      • Stupid comment Cor

        Comment by Brian — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 11:37am PDT  
      • Very funny Cor. “People who time-traveled here from the 1960s”… very funny.

        Comment by Fudd — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 2:00pm PDT  
        • I liked that one, too, Fudd! ; )

          Comment by Missy Holland — Monday September 16, 2013 @ 1:08pm PDT  
    • It’s past, not passed.

      Comment by DJ — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 7:51pm PDT  
    • This show will have ZERO audience. How can the CW so stupid?

      Comment by Mack — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 8:43pm PDT  
      • THE IRONY.

        Comment by r0ckmypants — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 9:26pm PDT  
      • I want to see it. MTFs, whiles still not often addressed in shows, get more publicity than FTMS. I’d appreciate a show about someone like me (even more so since I live in Texas, so long as they present it right.

        Comment by Xander — Monday September 16, 2013 @ 9:08am PDT  
    • If you are not transgendered you have no idea what it is like to live that life. Transgendered is not the same as transsexual, shemales, or cisgendered. Most often, one who is transgendered has suffered a lifetime of depression, repression, and pain that either leads to getting help or leads to an ugly end for the transgendered person or the people around them. Normal? Ha. I laugh at normal. Not one person on this planet has the Authority to declare what normal is. Transgendered people who decide to morph into the other gendered do so to find peace within themselves so that we can live and function among society in a happy healthy way. We chose to accept who we are and live with it rather than continue down a path of depressive self destruction.
      Yes I speak from experience.

      Comment by troy — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 4:46am PDT  
      • OH wow!! Sounds exciting enough to make a tv series!!

        Comment by CH — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 12:58pm PDT  
      • “Transgendered is not the same as transsexual, shemales…”

        All transsexuals are transgender but not all transgender people are transsexual. Transgender is an umbrella term that encompasses transsexual men, transsexual women, and inter-sexed people. It has recently broadened to include gender-neutral individuals as well. And come on, “shemales”?! Are you serious?

        Comment by Taylor — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 10:03pm PDT  
    • Of course someone would finally do this! Hollywood is the way to push agendas and that’s all they’re doing here. I find it interesting that in his “dysfunctional” family, he’s the one who’s the best adjusted. Pffft. This formula has been followed for years in Hollywood to push a point.

      Comment by AngelaQ — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 5:16am PDT  
    • To the very uninformed person who calls this a “small demographic”. One in every 2000 births have ambiguous genitalia. And then there are those with perfect physical make-ups who believe they are born in the wrong bodies. Then there are those who are curious about the problems transgenders face. If you do the math, you’ll see this is not a small demographic.

      Comment by GivesItThought — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 6:12am PDT  
      • Based on what you’ve described, there doesn’t seem to be, for instance, many people curious about the problems trnasgenders face. I know this by my daily conversations at work and home. In fact, the only thing I’m curious about is your statement that one in 2000 births has ambiguous genitalia. What?

        Comment by Drudge Fan — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 1:00pm PDT  
        • They are referring to inter-sexed people. Some have it corrected at birth while others parents wait to see if it “corrects” itself over time, or they are unable to do so all together.

          It’s not as uncommon at all, people just don’t like talking about it.

          Comment by Taylor — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 10:06pm PDT  
    • They will push this knowing very few will watch it. It is about programming. The mind is like a computer and they feed it immorality daily through TV. The younger generation, the ones in school are being indoctrinated and some of them will watch it. The globalist, NWO programmers work in long term increments. It is called TV programming for a reason. Ditch cable, satellite and network TV. Go with Netflix and Hulu for 1/4 or less than you are paying and you can watch the classics and shows with more moral themes.

      Comment by Sovereignty Soldier — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 7:27am PDT  
      • The CW doesn’t need very high ratings for a show to be profitable. And you’re seriously referring to a biological condition as “immoral”? And that portraying a realistic transgender teen is “feeding [the viewer] immorality”? That’s disappointing, to say the least.

        Comment by GM — Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 11:20am PDT  
    • I think this show could be improved by making the tansgender teen a superhero or a professional golfer.

      Comment by Craig Zimmerman — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 9:06am PDT  
      • What about a transgender teen who IS a superhero AND a professional golfer? Huh?!? Anyway, it is obvious they should cast Justin Bieber as that teen.

        Comment by Pirate77 — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 10:00am PDT  
    • I will be sure to miss this one!

      Comment by Machismo — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 10:47am PDT  
    • EXACTLY!!

      Comment by Anonymous — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 11:28am PDT  
    • This will get the B U M rush to one of those studio’s around San Pedro is my guess!

      Comment by Willie — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 12:45pm PDT  
    • I’m so happy that I don’t watch tv anymore! I’m so sick of shit being rammed down my throat. I know I don’t have to watch it but there is just nothing that is worth my time.

      Comment by CSHJ — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 1:23pm PDT  
      • What an odd comment in a time when TV is going through a major creative renaissance. . on cable, of course. The broadcast networks are basically a mess.

        Comment by cappy — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 11:44pm PDT  
      • ‘Oh no, someone is challenging my hastily crafted notions of reality! How dare they offer a perspective outside of my own!’

        Comment by Noved — Saturday September 14, 2013 @ 11:37am PDT  
      • You couldn’t be more incorrect. There are some well written shows on television -many
        on cable. Don’t be so sure you wouldn’t find at least one of them compelling.

        Comment by lisa mionie — Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 1:32am PDT  
    • Absolutely correct!! This is a dumb idea and won’t last longer than one season, then gone. Liberal writers like to push the envelope in an effort to further their careers. This will be rejected by the viewing public who want to protect their children while they are growing up. Is it out there? Yeah, doesn’t mean they want their kids exposed to it. This will be blocked by most parents.

      Comment by Claire Alexander — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 3:29pm PDT  
  • This is going to be cancelled before the first season is completed.

    Comment by anon — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:16pm PDT  
    • Just like 2/3 of all shows…

      Comment by Anthony — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 7:20pm PDT  
      • Yes, this one will be cancelled much faster than most.

        Comment by Jules — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 8:43pm PDT  
  • I hope that the starring role is filled by either Cuba Gooding Jr. or Toby Mcguire.

    Comment by Gall Travois — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:16pm PDT  
    • I think Vin Diesel would be better.

      Comment by Mike Young — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 6:34pm PDT  
      • I bet Kelsey Grammer would love to do this.

        Comment by Sean — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 7:24pm PDT  
    • Dwayne Johnson all the way you jabronis!

      Comment by Anonymous — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 8:03pm PDT  
  • This sounds….ridiculous.

    Comment by Vanessa Gonzalez — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:19pm PDT  
  • Sounds like an absurd fantasy. The “transgendered” person is the most normal and everyone else isn’t. Sorry – this simply isn’t how this situation would be in real life. What propaganda.

    Comment by Miffy — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:27pm PDT  
    • If the CW mirrors your real life experiences, this show will be the least of your troubles :)

      Comment by anonymouse — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:41pm PDT  
    • I dont rememeber Gossip Girl ever feeling like real life either. God FORBID a transgender person be normal, or able to turn on the TV and enjoy some wish-fulfillment just like every other teenager. What a horribly narrow-minded thing to say.

      Comment by Russell — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 6:01pm PDT  
      • oh the irony. “narrow-minded” is believing something called “transgendered” even exists. you all need your heads examined. LOL

        Comment by caligula — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 7:19am PDT  
        • You can’t be serious…I’m convinced you’re just a troll hoping to entice a reaction. In case you weren’t aware of what narrow-minded actually means, you’re giving a perfect example of it.

          Comment by Noved — Saturday September 14, 2013 @ 11:38am PDT  
      • “Normal?”

        really?

        :/

        Comment by Keep Honkin I'm Reloding — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 9:56am PDT  
    • The description says “well-adjusted,” not “normal.” It wouldn’t seem too far out, to me, for a trans* teen to be more “well-adjusted” than any peers… you have to be pretty sure of yourself, who you are, and who you want to be to switch genders.

      Comment by r0ckmypants — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 9:29pm PDT  
      • As a transgender person, I sought to learn more about myself and the condition by seeing a clinical psychologist for tests and evaluation. After a few sessions, she said I was one of the most well-adjusted patients she had ever seen.

        I’m 72, very happily married, and a great-grandparent whose “lifestyle” is no different from that of most people you know. Yet I’ve been keenly aware of my transgender condition since age six. I hid it from others for more than six decades.

        Comment by OneWhoKnows — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 5:00am PDT  
      • Sorry, ‘transgender’, not ‘transgendered’.

        Comment by Mark — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 7:02am PDT  
    • Wanting to switch genders is a deviant behavior and pushing its acceptance on the low info product of the public school system is disgustingly disturbing. More normalization of deviation. Save our children, save our future, protest to the stations that broadcast this swill.

      Comment by Outwest Landowner — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 9:56am PDT  
      • “Deviant” and abnormal are not pejoratives. They’re statistics descriptions. Red hair is deviant. Being left-handed is abnormal. You’re probably abnormal in one or maybe several ways. So what?

        Or are you defining “normal” as “exactly like me”?

        By the way… No one is guaranteed the right not to be “disgustingly disturbed”.

        Comment by OneWhoKnows — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 10:48am PDT  
        • Yeah, “deviant” and “abnormal” are pejoratives when used to describe people and their behaviour. You are not allowed your own definition of those words. Being left-handed is not abnormal, it is unusual and rare. Being red-headed is not deviant, it is having the gene for red hair, that’s all. Normal is defined as falling within a certain range of behaviour that is acceptable to the majority of the people as a societal norm. Deviant behaviour is those actions that go against societal norms and is often illegal or criminal in nature.

          Comment by Claire Alexander — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 3:58pm PDT  
          • Excuse me, but are you not aware that being transgender is not a “behavior”? You may BELIEVE it to be, but it is not.

            Comment by Anonymous — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 5:25pm PDT  
      • Just because you say so doesn’t make it so. Your use of deviant and deviance demonstrates a profound ignorance of the human species. Perhaps you should focus on the part of your big book of archaic rules that instructs us to love one another as thyself.

        Comment by TVScribe — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 10:52am PDT  
      • Wanting to switch genders is not “deviant” behavior. Wanting to dress like the opposite gender simple for sex is “deviant” behavior.
        A person suffering from GID or Gender Dysphoria actually learns to live as a person first then decides which gender role if any they want to live their life as. GID and Gender Dysphoria can cause extreme depression, anger, anti-social behaviors, and an extreme loathing of others or thy self. Choosing to live as the opposite gender is no easy path for anyone. It is however, a path that allows one who suffers from GID or GD to live a peaceful content life without the need for psyc meds. People on here judging others due to an illness, that in all likely hood was caused by government allowing added hormones to our food supplies.

        Comment by troy — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 11:17am PDT  
  • What is the statistical number of parents nationwide that would allow and pay for genital transformation surgery of their minor children? Honestly.

    Comment by SinCityFinancier — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:50pm PDT  
    • What is the statistical percentage of hipster parents living in West Hollywood, San Fran, Austin, Boston, etc?

      Comment by El Tamador — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 6:23pm PDT  
    • The title says “transgender,” which means there is no genital transformation. That would be “transexual.”

      There is actually a decent amount of trans teens out there. Good for The CW for branching out.

      Comment by kris — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 8:40pm PDT  
      • I wonder WHY there are a “decent amount” of trans teens out there? The seeds that are planted in those poor kids heads from shows like this and Hollywood’s movies and the trash they come up with. Hollywood is flopping big time too. Wonder why?

        Comment by momofthree — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 5:01am PDT  
        • Wonder this: I knew I was transgender at the age of six, and that perception never went away. Perhaps you’d like to tell us what influences were leading me into that mindset in 1947.

          Rather than encouraging it, my parents made me so ashamed that I kept it secret for nearly six decades.

          Comment by OneWhoKnows — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 3:08pm PDT  
        • Dear Momofthree,
          So you actually believe that “kids” watch movies about transgender people and , out of nowhere
          and for no particular reason but , perhaps, boredom…. they decide to change their sex?

          Surely you are kidding. Your ignorance is astounding and very frightening. Please educate
          yourself on this topic ~ read an article or ten on this subject and you will quickly learn
          that this decision is not based on a whim or some great tv show. Please. Use your brains
          and give the transgender community the respect they deserve.

          Please don’t vote in the next election.

          Comment by lisa mionie — Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 1:41am PDT  
  • This sounds good. Good for The CW for taking on a project like this. I’m glad they’re branching out now with different types of series. I’ll give it a shot.

    Comment by Mike — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 5:54pm PDT  
  • Wow; I just can’t wait.

    Comment by Mike Young — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 6:31pm PDT  
  • Yet another progressive media outlet pushing the envelope of what is the new norm…

    Comment by DesertStormVet — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 6:44pm PDT  
    • But therein lies the real lie. There is no new normal. Liberal elitists merely want everyone to believe that there is. Unfortunately it’s working. Those that get their entire thought process handed to them on NBC, MTV, and other shallow networks have no reasoning capability of their own.

      Comment by Jim — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 8:18am PDT  
      • As opposed to those who get their entire thought process handed to them by Fox News, Drudge, Limbaugh, etc.?

        Comment by Hmmm — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 6:46pm PDT  
  • Keep digging that hole to Hades, Hollywood.

    Comment by Gina — Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 7:01pm PDT  
    • You’ve got that right!

      Comment by momofthree — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 5:02am PDT  
    • Why do we need a hole to Hades (wherever that is)?

      Comment by OneWhoKnows — Friday September 13, 2013 @ 12:37pm PDT  
  |  More Comments

Sorry, comments are closed for this article.