BEVERLY HILLS — Former News Sentinel reporter Ryan Murphy's upcoming sitcom "The New Normal" hits close to home for him.
The story of a gay couple wanting to have a baby through a surrogate is something Murphy, a writer/ director/ producer, and his partner are mulling.
"The show came about because my partner and I have been having conversations about surrogacy and meeting with people and talking about it," Murphy said Tuesday.
"We're really writing, hopefully, a great depth to this couple, and it's not easy to be a gay couple having a child. We deal with those issues."
Broadway star Andrew Rannells ("Book of Mormon") plays Bryan Buckley, the character based on Murphy. ("You know, if somebody's loosely playing you, you want them to be much better-looking than you," Murphy deadpanned of the casting.)
He's a flighty type, who wants children but also sees them as an accessory.
"For me, obviously as somebody who very much does have that dream (of being a father), I don't feel that way," Murphy says. "I would never feel that way."
The "New Normal" cast includes reality star NeNe Leakes as a non-nonsense office employee and, in a scene-stealing role, Ellen Barkin as the mother of the surrogate. Barkin plays a woman who doesn't accept gays and people of color.
Barkin's role is based, in part, on Murphy's grandmother. He'd call her out when she spoke hatefully of people.
"My grandmother would actually say these jaw dropping things ... so it felt very familiar to me," he says.
Murphy worked at the News Sentinel as a lifestyles columnist.
"The New Normal" will air 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC, beginning this fall.
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or email@example.com.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!