This coming January, Fox will be premiering a spinoff of its show 911 set in Texas, titled 911: Lone Star. The series will feature transgender actor Brian Michael Smith as a series regular, playing a transgender character.
Smith is already a seasoned actor, having played characters on Queen Sugar and The L Word: Generation Q. On the 911 spinoff, Smith will be playing a transgender character named Paul Strickland, whom The Hollywood Reporter describes as a “firefighter with a gift for observation worthy of Sherlock Holmes.”
While this is a positive step for the transgender community in terms of representation, the number of transgender characters on broadcast TV is still incredibly low. According to this 2018-2019 report from GLAAD, in the past year there have been a total of 26 transgender characters on broadcast television, making up about 6% of LGBTQ+ characters on TV. This marked an increase of 9 transgender characters from the previous year. Notably, all 9 of those characters were featured on the series Pose, which made history last night at the Emmys with Billy Porter’s win for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Also at the Emmys last night, award winner Patricia Arquette called for transgender rights in her acceptance speech. Arquette gave a rallying cry honoring her transgender sister Alexis who passed three years ago. Prominent transgender actor Laverne Cox was seen in the audience showing her support.
Brian Michael Smith will be joining the cast of 911: Lone Star alongside series regulars Natacha Karam, Rafael Silva, and Julian Works. The cast of the show will also feature Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler, Jim Parrack, Sierra McClain and Ronen Rubinstein. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will follow Lowe’s character, a New York City firefighter who moves to Austin, as “he tries to balance saving people who are at their most vulnerable and solving problems in his own life.” The series is scheduled to premiere January 19th, 2020 on Fox.