Visible: Out on Television, a five-part documentary series, premieres exclusively on Apple TV+ February 14, 2020.
From Emmy-nominated filmmakers Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave, and executive producers Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, Visible: Out on Television investigates the importance of TV as an intimate medium that has shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement has shaped television. Combining archival footage with interviews with key players from the movement and the screen, the docuseries is narrated by Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon, Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Waithe.
Each hour-long episode will explore themes such as invisibility, homophobia, the evolution of the LGBTQ character, and coming out in the television industry. The docuseries features never-before-seen interviews with Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Sara Ramirez, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and dozens more. Visible: Out on Television is directed and executive produced by Ryan White (Ask Dr. Ruth, The Case Against 8, The Keepers). Jessica Hargrave, Wilson Cruz and Wanda Sykes also serve as executive producers.
Release date: February 14, 2020
Network: Apple TV+
Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. She starred in the sitcom Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and has hosted her syndicated TV talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003.
Her stand-up career started in the early 1980s and included a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As a film actress, DeGeneres starred in Mr. Wrong (1996), EDtv (1999), and The Love Letter (1999), and provided the voice of Dory in the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016); for Nemo, she was awarded the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first time an actress won a Saturn Award for a voice performance. In 2010, she was a judge on American Idol for its ninth season.
She starred in two television sitcoms, Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and The Ellen Show from 2001 to 2002. During the fourth season of Ellen in 1997, she came out as a lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her character, Ellen Morgan, also came out to a therapist played by Winfrey, and the series went on to explore various LGBT issues, including the coming-out process. In 2008, she married her longtime girlfriend Portia de Rossi.
DeGeneres has hosted the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and the Primetime Emmys. She has authored four books and started her own record company, Eleveneleven, as well as a production company, A Very Good Production. She also launched a lifestyle brand, ED Ellen DeGeneres, which comprises a collection of apparel, accessories, home, baby, and pet items. She has won 30 Emmys, 20 People’s Choice Awards (more than any other person), and numerous other awards for her work and charitable efforts. In 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On January 5, 2020, DeGeneres won the Golden Globes Carol Burnett Lifetime Achievement Award.
Oprah Winfrey is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, she was the richest African American of the 20th century and North America’s first black multi-billionaire, and she has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history. By 2007, she was sometimes ranked as the most influential woman in the world.
Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy. Winfrey was then sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school. By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news. Winfrey’s often emotional, extemporaneous delivery eventually led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
Credited with creating a more intimate, confessional form of media communication, Winfrey popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue. Through this medium, Winfrey broke 20th-century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream through television appearances. In 1994, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
By the mid-1990s, Winfrey had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, mindfulness, and spirituality. Though she was criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and having an emotion-centered approach, she has also been praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. Winfrey had also emerged as a political force in the 2008 presidential race, delivering about one million votes to Barack Obama in the razor close 2008 Democratic primary. In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard. In 2008, she formed her own network, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
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