Localish introduces a limited digital series “OUTstanding” executive produced and hosted by award-winning “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Localish.com on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
The limited series consists of five episodes focusing on LGBTQ individuals throughout the country making major contributions to their communities. Grounded in its mission to bring out the good in cities across America, each episode will highlight resilient and inspiring LGBTQ individuals ranging from a gay couple adopting a teenager during the COVID-19 pandemic and a bisexual country singer/songwriter to a business owner/winemaker and local activists who are unapologetically “OUTstanding.”
“These people have been inspirations in their own communities for years and I can’t wait for more people to get to know them,” said Michael Koenigs, executive producer of the Localish Network. “Their remarkable lives and uplifting stories are just the thing we need right now!”
“Jesse has been such a tireless advocate for LGBTQ issues over the years and brought so much personal energy to this project,” continued Koenigs. “By featuring extraordinary LGBTQ families in all different corners of this country, we’re excited to inspire audiences with real examples of leaders trailblazing more inclusive paths in their communities.”
With producers based in major cities across the U.S., Localish worked with Ferguson to identify and remotely film LGBTQ individuals who faced major challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives.
“The pandemic forced us to rethink our approach to production, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for telling amazing stories that make us proud of our neighbors,” added Koenigs.
In addition to streaming on Localish’s digital-owned platform Localish.com, the series will post one episode a week on Localish’s social platforms with cross-promotion on Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s social media platforms @jessetyler on both Instagram and Twitter, and on ABC Owned Television Stations’ 32 connected TV apps across Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.
Episodes include the following:
- Episode 1 – Record-Breaking Zoom Adoption: The Beanblossoms
fostered their now-son Michael for a year before adopting him, during the pandemic, in what became the biggest Zoom adoption ever. During this time, the Beanblossoms lost their home in a fire and now look to the future to build a new house that meets the needs of their growing family.
- Episode 2 – Queer Country Star: Sarah Shook grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family rural in North Carolina where she was only allowed to listen to classical and worship music. Shook identifies as bisexual and is politically active in supporting LGBT and civil rights causes. Sarah Shook formed a country band, the Disarmers, with an outspoken message for all.
- Episode 3 – Formerly Homeless Activist: Young, Black, gay and homeless, TyRon Jackson used to think he didn’t matter. Now his work speaks for itself. His nonprofit Operation Warm Wishes (OWW) has been giving back to those in need for 13 years. Unbeknownst to him, his community has come together to surprise him with a life-changing gift.
- Episode 4 – Trailblazing Winemaker: Winemaker Krista Scruggs has a history of defying expectations. She’s a young, queer Black woman who has chosen to make wine in Vermont that is uniquely made from biodynamically farmed grapes, sometimes co-fermented with foraged apples to create a singular hybrid style. After founding her own label, Zafa Wines, one of her first bottlings, a provocatively named sparkler called Jungle Fever, sold out quickly in its 2017 debut. She was quickly recognized in the industry as a wine wunderkind.
- Episode 5 – Meet the Chicken Lady: Ken Thomason was born in rural Indiana where there was a church on every street corner. Feeling displaced in a small city, Ken moved to California where he met his first best friend who later sadly passed away of AIDS. Before his death, Ken’s best friend gifted him a chicken plush toy. In his honor Ken rode in a week-long fundraiser bike ride, the AIDS LifeCycle, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Thus Ken’s alter ego The Chicken Lady was hatched.
Joining the team behind “OUTstanding” include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Justin Mikita, Amy Rice, Craig Gartner, and Michael Koenigs as executive producers, Chris Casey as production manager, Georgia Krause as producer, and Elie Sokoloff as editorial producer.
Localish is a multiplatform lifestyle brand from the ABC Owned Television Stations aimed at bringing out the good in cities across America through positive, feel-good storytelling. A digital native brand launched in September 2018, Localish expanded on Feb. 17, 2020, and debuted its broadcast home in eight top markets across the country.
Localish has produced over 3,000 pieces of digital video, totaling more than 400 million video views, with 60% of its audience under the age of 44. Most recently honored with the 2019 Innovator Award – the highest distinction among TVNewsCheck’s annual Social Media Excellence Awards – Localish was credited for its forward-minded ideas, sleek execution and all-around positive impact.
As a broadcast network, Localish expanded its short-form series of local storytelling into long-form programming to reach approximately 14 million households across America. The brand also continues to debut stories on localish.com, ABC digital platforms and social media platforms, as it transcends city limits and inspires its audience to live like a local wherever they are.