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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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TV’s Coming-Outs Will Extend Beyond That On ‘Ellen’

Tom Jicha Sun-Sentinel, South Florida

There are so many “very special” episodes of popular series scheduled for the May sweeps that the true standouts are those without “very special” elements or stunt casting. Few are readily apparent.

Comings and goings dominate the month. The most publicized event, of course, is “Ellen’s” coming-out on April 30. The hour-long show will feature guest appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Laura Dern, k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge and cameos by Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam and Demi Moore.

Even after Ellen Morgan tells the world she’s a lesbian, she still has to break the news to her parents. On hand for moral support on May 7 will be Chastity Bono, Laraine Newman and Joan Jett. The following week, Ellen tells her boss. If ABC can find 22 other people who care at this point, there could be a next season.

Another long-anticipated coming-out is set for May 20. The Buchman baby finally arrives on “Mad About You” (after a gestation period matching that of a horse; Jamie discovered she was pregnant last May).

The evening could provide one of the great free-for-alls of the ratings period. Tentatively scheduled opposite the hourlong “Mad About You” is the 60-minute finale of “Roseanne.”

However, ABC is having second thoughts about such a scorched-earth showdown and has not confirmed the airdate.

Three other long-running series will have farewells.

After nine seasons, “Coach” will drag out its finale over three weeks: April 30, May 7 and May 14. The story arc has Hayden pondering his coaching future in light of a Jimmy Johnsonsized contract offer.

“Wings” disappears into the clouds on May 21 after 172 episodes. In a double-length episode, the gang takes off on a frantic treasure hunt after Joe finds a small amount of cash in the attic along with a note that there is more where that came from and hints as to where it might be.

“Martin,” which has been plagued by Martin Lawrence’s bizarre behavior, comes to what is probably a premature end after five seasons on May 1, also with a 60-minute show. Martin and and Gina decide to leave Detroit after getting alluring job offers in Los Angeles (Tisha Campbell returns as Gina after having charged Lawrence with sexual harassment earlier this season).

Lou Rawls, George Clinton, Tommy Hearns and Lisa Leslie are among those saying goodbye.

The longest-running sitcom on TV, “Married … with Children,” also is thought to be reaching the end of the line, although this won’t be certified until Fox announces its fall schedule next month. If this turns out to be the finale, “Married” will, appropriately, end with a wedding.

In back-to-back episodes on May 5, the Bundys will be taken hostage by a felon. During the standoff, Kelly falls in love with the miscreant.

On April 28, “Married” will try to one-up “Ellen.” Amanda Bearse, one of the first TV stars to acknowledge that she is a lesbian, will play dual roles.

Her regular character, Marcy, who is straight, will be visited by sister Mandy, who discloses she is gay.

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