We're a month away from the official launch of the Fall 2011 TV season, and it's shaping up to be quite a year for women, perhaps infamously so. Prominent roles for women in this season's crop of new shows include stewardesses (Pan Am, ABC), bunnies (Playboy Club, NBC), waitresses (2 Broke Girls, CBS), and sexy crimefighters (Charlie's Angels, ABC).
But suppose you're an actress who doesn't buy into this "more skin, less mental capacity" formula, but still wants to work in Hollywood? Or you're staunchly Christian and conservative in a town known for its liberal bent, and refuse to keep your mouth shut just to get a few jobs?
Earlier this year, AOL's Popeater featured one sitcom actress who is proudly and openly conservative even though her politics often make it hard to find work. In "Patricia Heaton Has Lost Potential Roles Because of Her Politics," the former Everybody Loves Raymond star acknowledges that "some people...have said they wouldn't want to work with us [Heaton and husband David Hunt] because of our politics....We get lumped in with lunatics."
Heaton's political beliefs are her own and are consistent with her Christian faith; she doesn't oppose gay marriage, is against embryonic stem cell research and serves as the honorary chair of Feminists for Life, a national pro-life organization.
Born and raised in a devout Catholic family, Heaton hasn't let career ups and downs or political bias shake her. She told Popeater's Rob Shute, "My feeling is all these things come from God and as long as I know I'm staying in line with Him, I don't have to worry if there is backlash....God will open any doors he wants to open and if he closes doors that's fine too."
The most recent door t0 open for Heaton is the role of Frankie Heck, a middle-class Midwestern woman whose life in Orson, Indiana as a wife, mother, and unsuccessful salesperson at a local car dealership is the basis of the ABC comedy series The Middle. A solid ratings success, The Middle returns for its third season on Wednesday, September 21.
My erstwhile colleague and friend Justin Quinn, former US Conservative Politics Guide for About.com, has a lengthy profile on Patricia Heaton and an article that spotlights other Hollywood conservatives including actresses Angie Harmon, Bo Derek, Heather Locklear and Janine Turner.
Photo of Patricia Heaton © Jason Merritt/Getty Images