Producers of scripted television shows featuring gay characters have told The New York Times that they have been surprised by how little criticism has emerged as a result. In reporting their views, the newspaper commented, "The cultural battlefield of television has changed markedly since the 1990s, when conservative groups and religious figures objected to Ellen Degeneres coming out and Will & Grace coming on." (The Times noted that when a group calling itself One Million Moms recently attempted to mount a boycott campaign against JCPenney for hiring DeGeneres as its spokesperson, the company's CEO defended her and the boycott was eventually called off.) Modern Family producer/co-creator Steve Levitan told the newspaper that when the show launched he believed that the inclusion of a gay couple would limit its appeal because it would alienate some viewers. "In fact," he said, "it's turned out to be quite the opposite." (The show is often the highest-rated sitcom on TV.) Levitan's producing co-partner, Christopher Lloyd, added, "What this is about, really, is how far America has come, not how far television has come." Somewhat ironically, an item in the same edition of the Times concerns the overwhelming vote by North Carolinians on Tuesday to adopt a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, partnerships and civil unions.
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