MTV has given the green light for a new reality show starring a bisexual woman dubbed "the Madonna of MySpace."
"A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" is another dating competition series but with a controversial twist. The competitors vying for internet sensation Tila Tequila, a 25-year-old entertainer whose real last name is Nguyen, are 16 straight men and 16 lesbians. The 32 "suitors" will live in Tila's house and compete to impress her as the competition narrows each week.
The bisexual dating show is a first for a network that doesn't specifically target the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) crowd. It's slated to premiere Oct. 9.
"The show is a roller-coaster ride of drama, conflict and emotion, busting stereotypes and challenging the norm," said MTV executive Tony DiSanto, according to Reuters.
MTV is one of the most watched networks by teens and its staggering levels sexual imagery, foul language and violence already have parents and evangelicals concerned.
Warning that a whole generation of young people will be lost to MTV culture, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, commented earlier this year that "the majority of the youth are biblically illiterate but well-informed about the latest MTV programs," even in countries where the majority of the population is Christian.
But the addition of a bisexual reality series has raised more concern that it might create confusion in the area of sex and relationships.
"Men and women are made in the image of God, and our masculinity and femininity reflect something of his wonder and glory. So it's no wonder the enemy attacks this area and works to create confusion, brokenness and lust," said Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family, according to Citizen Link, a publication of the pro-family organization.
"It's sad that MTV is cooperating so readily with our adversary. Especially since they just learned that what makes young men and women happy is time with their families and with God, not sexual brokenness and confusion," added Johnston, alluding to a recent survey by The Associated Press and MTV that revealed spending time with family makes America's young people happiest.
The upcoming TV series centers around a woman who is said to be the most popular girl in the history of MySpace with some 2 million "friends" and counting. Tila Tequila built her celebrity status "from the ground up on MySpace," fan by fan, as Time magazine reported. With racy photos and videos, Tila merchandise and singles, Tequila says her online persona as a singer-model-actress-blogger is her profession.
"Tila Tequila made a name for herself by doing things her way, captivating legions of fans online, both men and women," said MTV executive Tony DiSanto, according to AP. "Now she is taking that attitude and sex appeal to her own TV series where she is looking for a mate ... by again, captivating a group of both men and women."
"A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" comes months after ABC casted Rebecca Romijn as a transwoman on its popular television show Ugly Betty. The transgender character, Alex "Alexis" Meade, is said to be the first on prime-time network television.
Dr. Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, has raised concerns that the media, after trying to normalize the gay lifestyle, is now trying to do the same with the transgender existence.