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‘Work It’ didn’t work — ABC cancels sitcom after only two episodes

By Rich Ferraro
GLAAD
Saturday, January 14, 2012

“Work It” just didn’t work.

ABC has cancelled the series “Work It” after only two episodes. The series debuted on January 3, 2012 to low ratings, and, according to Entertainment Weekly, dropped another 20 percent this week.

Amaury Nolasco and Ben Koldyke in ABC’s “Work It.” (Image via ABC-TV)

“While many of ABC’s positive and groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT people have been critical and popular successes, the public had little interest in this outdated show,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD.

GLAAD, together with many advocates including Autumn Sandeen, and other LGBT organizations including HRC, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative and the Transgender Law Center spoke out against the series for its potential to cause harm to the transgender community. Women’s advocacy groups and members of the Puerto Rican community have also criticized the show’s premise and jokes.

While the show did not explicitly address transgender people, many viewers unfamiliar with the realities of being transgender will still make the connection.

According to ABC, ‘Work It’ centered on two unemployed men who have “learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a ‘man-cession’ and their skills aren’t in high demand.” One finds out that a pharmaceuticals company is hiring sales reps, but only female sales reps. He goes to the interview dressed in heels, a skirt, and makeup and gets hired as a woman.

Last month, after viewing the pilot, GLAAD placed a full page ad in media industry publication Variety with HRC. The organizations also published a joint opinion piece on the Huffington Post. View the ad here.

The Variety ad noted that “by encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women.”

GLAAD and HRC included photos of transgender Americans, legal facts and statistics from a recent report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force on the discrimination that transgender Americans face:

  • Transgender Americans can be legally fired in 34 states today simply for being who they are.
    • 97% of self-identified transgender people reported being harassed or abused at work.
  • 26 percent reported losing their jobs because they are transgender.

“As a result of this campaign, an important dialogue has been started in Hollywood and mainstream media about the real discrimination faced by transgender people today,” GLAAD’s Herndon Graddick said.

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Filed under: Arts & Entertainment

52 more reader comments:

  1. It only works if you have Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:46pm
  2. Good, I felt like they were making fun of transgendered people.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  3. Victory! This is a wonderful step in the fight for equality.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  4. see, people got all up in your face for no reason. you could tell from the promos it was going to suck.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  5. The premise was funny 30 years ago with “Bosom Buddies” but not now. Talk about cutting edge ideas…fail.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  6. I want a GAY Life Time for Gay People, our suppliers deal with budgets of thousands. When will the world get it, We want the same types of series and programs, with Gay REAL LIFE type Characters and relationships, singles, open, etc.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  7. Yay, we won.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  8. And they said it wouldn’t last…….and it didn’t. lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47pm
  9. But according to several LGBTQA Activist groups, the show was discriminating against the Transgender Community. So, ABC did the right thing in scrapping the show.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:48pm
  10. Good. That show sent way too many wrong messages.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:48pm
  11. aww, but i liked that show :(

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:49pm
  12. Besides the fact that it was offensive, it was terribly unfunny anyway.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:50pm
  13. Good. I found that show stupid, inaccurate and offensive. And I am not easily offended.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:50pm
  14. i was bored with in first 5 min, bad remake of the one with tom hanks, bosom buddies

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:51pm
  15. it was not funny period….no wonder it flopped!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:52pm
  16. Too many people got all flustered for no reason before the show even hit the airwaves. It wasn’t discriminating against anyone. Just bad writing, casting, acting and NOT FUNNY!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:52pm
  17. glad to see it go … too many mixed messages

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:52pm
  18. Inaccurate is the best word for it

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:53pm
  19. The previews Alone for this show, just didn’t do nothing for me…! :-P

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:54pm
  20. Why Cancel? I want watch it as on long as it will be…

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:54pm
  21. Activist groups are so easily activated.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:54pm
  22. I’ve never even heard of it.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:54pm
  23. never even heard of it….

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:55pm
  24. I thought it was good show and very funny. It’s just a TV show and I don’t take it seriously. I don’t see any violence or anything close to that on the show so I don’t get it…. it’s just me.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:55pm
  25. I don’t care how offensive it was. It was just stupid and unfunny

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:56pm
  26. It was insinuating that women can find jobs easier that men can and that’s so inaccurate.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:57pm
  27. I for one DO NOT think they were making fun anyone. Everyone needs to stop being so damn sensitve. It was just a sitcom and really who cares. I am gay man and I found nothing wrong with. If you want to watch it watch it and if you dont then turn the channel. As long as you are secure with your sexuailty then you what is the big deal. And how can it be making fun of them when the men have to dress as women to get a job? Who cares

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:58pm
  28. I watched some of the first show and it was just bad – I thought the lead guys were cute but the writing…the premise…just didn’t work – as a gay man I wasn’t offended but even without all the negaitve pre-hype I think the show would’ve got cancelled on its own…

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:58pm
  29. It was more offensive towards women in general and transsexuals.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:59pm
  30. From the first I was sure it would die on its own…it did.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:00pm
  31. Everyone seems to forget the “T” in LGBTQ

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:01pm
  32. I agree… it’s just a TV show… it wasn’t meant to take seriously. Most TV sitcoms aren’t realistic anyway, no big deal.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:01pm
  33. Thank you!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:04pm
  34. it looked terrible, I wouldn’t even give it a chance, not no mention how offensive it seemed

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:05pm
  35. It just looked stupid!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:07pm
  36. Remember Bosom Buddies?

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:16pm
  37. I think even though it wasn’t their intention, it mocked transgendered people, so yey! :)

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:20pm
  38. Wasn’t this just a tired re-work of “Bosum Buddies?” That was sad, too!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:26pm
  39. but I loved tom hanks in a dress!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:26pm
  40. Bosom Buddies was funny. I even got my old school British Merchant Marine father to watch it. And he said all we gays and lesbians should be nuked Until he learned the truth about me.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:31pm
  41. Those guys are bastards, right? Either that, or lack of pubilcity, right?

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:02pm
  42. lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:19pm
  43. Thank you for seeing the folly of your programing. This is religious violence not a show. I have head shots and an out standing resume i am a local and i am intersex and transgender. Lets make a real show bout how hard it is to work even in entertainment in this country. thank you Abc thank you for finaly concidering REAL family values. i am Transgender and I am adopting my partners child here in Denver want a new perspective on real family. i started one with my partner because my family is ashamed of my existence.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:40pm
  44. thank you AB.c

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:40pm
  45. Thank you friends for the supportive posts!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:41pm
  46. Finally, someone with some sense!

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 6:00pm
  47. it was terrible. good riddance.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 6:02pm
  48. This show was SO great I can;t believed they canceled it. I’m kind of hoping you are wrong and it is not canceled =D

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 6:49pm
  49. Anyone who thought this show had longevity was out of their mind.

    Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 7:57pm
  50. Personally being MtF as it is the show was a bit offensive but not over the top offensive. As for funny, OMG it was laugh tracked horribly, it was getting hard to distinguish between what was actually funny. Would of liked to seen how much further it could of gone, but o well. On the upside it does show how different men and women are. It’s really hard to talk automotive macanics and not get questioned about it like in the pilot ep.

    Posted on Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 3:45pm
  51. I was leery at first cause I thought it might of been like a lot of other shows – raunchy. But I gave it a shot & found it hilarious and worth fighting for! It is always humorous to watch men dressing as women to hide their identity. It a SHOW people. Look at 90% of television today. It’s either drug’s, sex, violence or vampires. Yawn…… For once we found something that actually made us laugh from our gut & you pull it ABC. I hope another network will have the smarts to pick it up. BTW ~ Those GUYS need a job!!!!! Get a sense of humor back people.

    Posted on Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 7:47pm
  52. I am gay, I did enjoy the show. However; Transgenders gross me out.

    ABC listened and cancelled, wonder why Bravo Tv which

    Stereotypes Gay Man as Queens and Femes also got cancel.

    Not all Gay man are required to act like woman, otherwise I marry one.

    Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 2:36am