A new comedy series inspired by openly gay professional soccer player Robbie Rogers is coming to ABC. According to a report by Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday, the network has closed a deal to bring the single-camera comedy series to network television. The show will remedy the life of Rogers, who became the first openly gay man to compete in one of the top North American professional sports league.
While athletes like Michael Sam and Jason Collins have been getting most of the attention and headlines, Rogers was the first to play with professional athletes and experience the dynamics of the locker room as an openly gay player. The show, written by Claudia Lonow, takes elements of his experiences and inserts them in the show.
The timing of “Men in Shorts” is also valuable because of the ongoing discussion on whether professional sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS are ready for an openly gay athlete. The show centers on a young pro soccer player who comes out of the closet to step right into the spotlight. How he deals with this spotlight and how his teammates react to him will set the stage for a humorous situational comedy that will focus on social issues by combining elements of family and issues that take place in the workplace.
“To me, a sports team locker room is a workplace we haven’t seen before,” Lonow said in a statement. The lead character’s dealings with his family, teammates and friends after coming out will be the focus of the show. By revealing what he has been keeping inside, those around him begin to evaluate their own secrets that may be in the way of them being happy and “authentic” in their own lives.
Openly gay producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have signed on to produce the show. Rogers will be helping with the creation of the show and Jordan Nardino has signed on as an executive producer for the show. Nardino’s credits include the former NBC series “Smash.” Zadan and Meron have produced the last two Academy Awards telecasts.