The Nuke Files

3.3.2008

By Nelson Branco

A publicist for the show itself offered Out a lukewarm statement of support: 'We've purposely told Luke and Noah's story slowly to bring our viewers along with us and engage them -- which we've clearly done... We are telling Luke and Noah's story in the most authentic way we can, being respectful of all the people who watch the show.'

Procter & Gamble Co., which owns and operates the 52 year-old soap, last featured a gay character in 1988. But the advertising giant still maintains that there is no discrimination at work here. 'There's no kissing ban,' maintains Jeannie Tharrington, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble Productions. She defends her company's creative decision to pan away from any affection between Nuke: "It's always hard to please a diverse audience." Of course, that audience includes another protest from the right-wing American Family Association, which claims P&G is the 'top pro-homosexual sponsor on television.'

Roger Newcomb, the major Nuke fan from Rockland County, New York, who spearheaded the fan protests of the show, points out that in the world of daytime hijinks, Luke and Noah's story is fairly tame. 'This is a show that has told stories on kidnapped babies, mothers working as prostitutes, meth addiction and murders this past year, yet they have no qualms over offending anyone with that kind of material,' Newcomb says. 'But to show two men who love each other showing affection -- well, that's just too taboo for them.'

Nuke's portrayers have been quiet on the brewing controversy, though Hansis recently spoke to Soaps In Depth. 'I don't write the show, and so I'm the wrong person to talk about that,' he said. 'I think the show is telling the Nuke story very well. And there is a lot of support behind the couple from P&G and CBS.' As for the visible lack of intimacy, Hansis said, 'It's important as an actor to show that. To show the connection, that's what people do in real life. They touch each other. It makes sense that if Noah and Luke are a couple they would be very close and intimate. So that's kind of what we go for.'

One rival daytime executive suggests that another network should pen its own gay love story -- but unlike ATWT, tell it properly. 'Clearly there's a demand out there,' the executive says. 'And we wouldn't be shy about showing any kissing. We'd kill for this kind of publicity!'

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