Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Family network will debut its first reality show starring a transgender person, gaining visibility from the widely publicized photos this week of transitioning TV dad Caitlyn Jenner.
“Becoming Us” — airing in Canada on ABC Spark (Monday, 9 p.m.) — is an unscripted look at life for Ben Lehwald, an Evanston, Ill., teen whose father, Charlie, is becoming a woman named Carly. In a preview clip, family members wince at a photo of gender reassignment surgery and Ben meets the parents of his girlfriend, Danielle, whose father is also transitioning.
ABC Family has committed to 10, one-hour episodes, produced by TV host Ryan Seacrest. Jenner’s own E! network documentary series “I Am Cait” debuts July 26.
“It’s a moment in our society when the world is focusing on transgender issues,” Tom Ascheim, president of ABC Family, said in an interview. “It only helps us.”
ABC Family has often led other networks in its portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, characters, according to Matt Kane, director of entertainment media for GLAAD, the New York-based advocacy group.