Advice columnist Dan Savage lands MTV pilot -- EXCLUSIVE

Image Credit: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Savage Love may be coming to MTV.

Columnist Dan Savage is working on an advice show for the network.

MTV has ordered a pilot that follows Savage as he tours college campuses giving his brand of brutally honest (and sometimes graphic) sex and relationship advice. In the format, Savage takes questions from an auditorium audience (similar to his recently completed college tour).

Savage’s advice column Savage Love is long known to readers of The Onion’s AV Club, and he’s currently the editorial director of Seattle’s alt weekly The Stranger. Last year, MTV covered Savage’s “It Gets Better Project,” where gay adults submitted videos assuring teens struggling with sexual orientation issues that their lives will eventually improve. The openly gay columnist has also clashed with right-wingers, particularly over rights issues (in a Newsweek Q&A alongside Jane Lynch, he recently declared gays have won the culture war). Hypomania Content is producing the project. The deal was packaged by Octagon.

Related: EW’s cover story about gay teens on TV

Comments (86 total) Add your comment
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  • Steve

    Savage is an idiot and a bully. For all his screeching about tolerance, he’s 100% intolerant and completely condescending of anyone who disagrees with him (and not just on gay issues, but anything). The gay rights movement needs a Dr. King, but what they’ve got is a jackass.

    • harry

      Well…would you want it any other way?

    • Tarc

      LOL! Typical right winger. let me translate: Savage is successful and nearly always has a point, and because I disagree with him, I’ll make up some nasty stuff. It’s the conservative Newspeak.

      • Steve

        Actually, I am gay and live in Seattle. This guy does us way more harm than good.

      • jared4ever

        Speak for yourself, Dan Savage has reached millions of people and done nothing but improve the lives of gays. You should be thanking him.

      • teatroborikua

        Steve has a point. Before you guys bash him, let’s just be clear-eyed about the whole thing. Dan has done a lot of good, unquestionably, but he also tends to be abrasive, and intolerant, and he tends to pick on and namecall straights to much. Do we really have to stoop to do the same crap we condemn in bigots? He is also a very propulsively confrontational person. I agree, we will someday get a sort of “gay Dr. King”, but Savage is not that.

      • Randy

        Doesn’t sound like someone I would like to represent my status. But then again, all the trash that other networks don’t want usually end up on MTV’s lap. You have to have an IQ below 90 to watch anything on that network. Which I don’t.

    • LOL

      Right wing trolls fear Savage.

    • Carlos

      For the record, I am gay, black, and Puerto Rican. Savage made negative remarks about blacks in California that didn’t support gay marriage. He made it seem, it was blacks fault this legislation didn’t pass. Blacks make up a small percentage of residents in the State of Califonia. With the influx of illegal Mexicans into California, whites are becoming an minority.

      I’ve read some of Savage reports of sexuality and I have found some to be interesting.

      • Carlos


        For the record, I am gay, black, and Puerto Rican. Savage made negative remarks about blacks in California that didn’t support gay marriage. He’s alleged to have stated, it was blacks fault the legislation didn’t pass. Blacks make up a small percentage of residents living in the State of Califonia. With the influx of illegal Mexicans/Central Americans into California, whites too are becoming a minority.
        I’ve read some of Savage reports on sexuality and I have found some to be interesting.

      • jared4ever

        If you’re a black person who voted against gay marriage then it IS your fault it didn’t pass. Many black community leaders were very outspoken that gay marriage was something they would not support. So he had every right to comment on it.

      • Carlos

        Jared4ever, I live in New York City, not California. Don’t put the blame on blacks for this legislation not passing. There are more whites in California along with Mexican Americans. Many of them voting against the bill.

        Since you went there, let’s talk about racism with the gay community and how black gays are discriminated against by white gay men. Please remember, white gay men are not a minority in this country. They still belong to the white majority.

      • Steve

        Savage also claims that any gay who didn’t vote for Obama ius a racist. I didn’t vote for Obama because’s he way, way too liberal for me fiscally, but according to Savage it had to have been becaause I’m afraid of black people (which is funny, since my partner is black) – it’s sad that he is just as intolerant and bigoted as those on the far right.

      • jared4ever

        I didn’t put the blame on blacks for it not passing, you may want to re-read my comment. I put the blame on anyone who voted against it. And it’s a fact that many black community leaders were against it. They were not the only reason for it’s failure but they contributed, as did many others. How you saw racism in what I wrote is totally beyond me.

      • Kara

        While it’s completely unfair to place the blame for Prop 8 passing on the black community, there is a reason that some people see it this way. People in the LGBT community expect black people to vote for equality considering what they went through 50 years ago. People expect black people to be empathetic for the LGBT community and their struggle for civil rights because black people went through the same thing. They’ve experienced the same level of hatred and bigotry. I don’t think it’s so out of line, based on that, to expect the black community to feel for and understand the LGBT community in a certain manner. We have somewhat of a shared experience. So it’s frustrating to see people who went through and are still going through ignorance, hatred and bigotry voting for ignorance, hatred and bigotry. It’s wrong to put sole blame on the black community, but it’s understandable that frustration has led people to do that.

      • Brick Strongthrow

        Exit polls for Prop 8 show that African Americans were the only ethic group to vote against Prop 8, and they did so overwhelmingly. While they make up only 10% of the voters, their overwhelming support of bigotry (70% – 30%) played a HUGE role in Prop 8’s passage. To argue otherwise is foolish.

    • The Milkman

      There is no reason to be tolerant of bigots. If you disagree that GLBT people deserve every bit of their equal share of civil and human rights, then you are a bigot. It’s quite simple.

    • Perry

      Agree with Steve. Savage is a bully.

    • Leo

      The gay rights movement had a Dr. King. His name was Harvey Milk.

    • Jasonb84

      Steve your being “intollerant” by complaining about a so-called “intollerant” person. Why can’t you consertives see the nose on your face?

    • stu

      Never heard of him. Cute face. How’s the bod?
      Dan Savage is the same name as the actor who plays Tom on Desperate Housewives…who played gay on Melrose.

      • jared4ever

        You mean Doug Savant. I guess it sounds a little like Dan Savage though.

    • SaraD

      Steve I also live in Seattle and read Savage Love — can you elaborate please? I’d like to know why you feel that way.

    • alceste

      We got pfc. Bradley Manning and we’re proud of him/ her -

  • QJ201

    I like Dan, but I frown upon anyone handing out advice when they have no training in social work or psychology.

  • paul

    This couldn’t be better news. It DOES indeed get better. Looking forward to this show. Dan Savage is HIGHLY qualified to be a spokesman for gay rights — read his book “The Commitment” to see why. He also has an iPhone app that dispenses his advice which I read everyday. Check both out.

  • Asha

    I really like Dan Savage. I’ve seen him speak a few times. I don’t think I’d watch this show but…

  • Strepsi

    Say what you will about his qualifications or technique, for creating “It Gets Better Project,” he has a place in Heaven. In the article above radically understates the issue — the videos are not for teens “struggling with sexual orientation issues ” — they are for teens who might COMMIT SUICIDE because of anti-gay bullying and violence. The videos say “WAIT — please — pause and imagine a world where you get past this”. It Gets Better has saved lives, no doubt about it.

    • Steve

      Hardly. He infantilizes them by saying that the lives they have now are not worth fighting for. If anything, he causes way more harm than good.

      • Tarc

        On what planet, Steve? You’re so clueless, it has to be deliberate.

      • Strepsi

        He ONLY says the lives they have now ARE worth fighting for. It also showed straight America whole slews of gay-positive straight people, and employees of Google, Networks, City councils, etc. etc. I do not agree with many things Savage says, but if you actually think ‘It Gets Better’ did more harm than good, you are bitter beyond repair.

      • Todd

        How can you possibly say that he infantilizes them? have you seen any of the videos? How can telling teens (both LGBT and straight) that although this point in their lives is hard, that if they soldier on and stay strong that at some point their lives will be better? Have you watched the videos or listened to the feedback on his podcasts or actually listened to him talk? As for his qualifications, he is an “advice” columnist. Think of himi more as an X-rated Ann Landers than an unqualified Dr. Drew (who is by no means above reproach). he comes out and says that “Hey, this is my opinion. I am not an expert. Take or leave my advice as you will.” You don’t have to like Dan, but please try to be a bit more informed about what he does.

      • jared4ever

        Are you learning impaired? You can’t be a ignorant as that, you must be trying to piss people off.

  • Bill

    I listen to Dan’s weekly podcast, and it’s great. He readily admits to being an asshole at times, but he’s excellent in giving pull-no-punches advice. He’ll be a natural for this kind of tv show.

  • Ben

    This foul disgusting creep should fit right in on the now softcore porn station known as MTV.

    • Ringo Death Starr

      You’re just a big heaping mess of Santorum.

      • LOL

        Ringo FTW!

  • Soldier

    Go Dan Go! Great for MTV! Equality and Support for Gays Now!

  • Nick

    Im a gay man…and I agree with Steve. Dan Savage runs along the same lines as the yearly image of Pride Parades where lesbians show their breasts with pasties, drag queens run around and a guy walks around in a dog chain.
    It is civil rights by shock and force, because that is what America supposedly needs.
    The gay community (if you want to call it a community) wants to be equals, but they have NO idea how to sell it. Play the game, don’t keep complaining that the game exists, cause really…it won’t get you anywhere!

    • Steve

      Thank you!

      • Elli

        Steve, is Nick your sockpuppet? Sure sounds like it. Why don’t you go troll elsewhere, you’re pretty transparent.

    • Melissa

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “play the game, don’t keep complaining that the game exists” – what exactly is this game? The straight, heteronormative game?

    • Todd

      How dare gay people flaunt their gayness! They need to act more like us straight folks…like dressing up in revealing outfits for Halloween and Mardi Gras, making out on street corners and generally telling other people how to live their lives. Better yet, they should be like all the closeted conservatives out there (Ted Haggard anyone?) and preach one way while acting another. How dare Dan act the way he does!

    • Duh

      Equality shouldn’t have to be sold. It should just be. And Savage is a proponent of a healthy s*x life between or among consenting / safe adults. He doesn’t make people feel ashamed for their fantasies and is all about being HONEST with yourself and your partner. And not just for gays, for everyone.
      Yeah, that’s horrible.

      • Nick

        “Relationships are monuments build on lies ”
        — Dan Savage
        Yeah, thats “healthy”…

    • Strepsi

      @ NICK – if it wasn’t for “drag queens running around” thee would be no gay equality movement! Know our people’s history: Stonewall and the protests were led by drag queens, and by flaming femmes who could not “pass for straight” and so had no choice but to fight back against the brutality and violence and oppression. The fact that in this day and age you can publicly say “Im a gay man” without being arrested or killed shows you owe these people a debt of gratitude, not derision.

      • The Milkman

        “Relationships are monuments built on lies.”

        Nick, they ARE, in some limited ways. If you listened to the rest of the words that surrounded your chosen comment, you would understand what he was meaning. Yes, it’s a sassy, sarcastic, snarky comment meant to get people’s attention… it certainly got yours… but if you’d just listen for a moment you’d see the truth in his commentary.

      • Toby

        Milkman, the problem is that just like Steve chose those particular words to try to back up whatever argument he was trying to make, bigots will do the same. I personally don’t know what context he said that in, but I vehemently disagree that relationships are built on lies. I feel that Savage wants to promote the gay schoolf of thought that believes in orgies, threesomes, “free love” and all those (in my opinion) negative things. What’s so wrong about a gay COMMITTED relationship?

      • Ben

        Toby, I assume by “committed” you mean monogamous. (I’ll argue that open relationships can be as committed as monogamous ones, and that people who stay faithful sexually can have emotional affairs. The commitment of a relationship is not limited or defined by sex.) There’s nothing wrong with a monogamous gay relationship, and Dan would probably say the same thing. In my exposure to him he’s been supportive of monogamy if that’s what a couple wants, while acknowledging that such a choice can be very difficult to stick with. Mostly he seems to want people to know whether they really want monogamy or not and to choose their partner accordingly. Also, he’s pretty specifically opposed to orgies.

      • Ben

        And I suspect that if lies weren’t a part of relationships, the question, “Does this make me look fat?” would lead to a lot of breakups.

    • FlexSF

      Who appointed you to speak for the gays, you idiot?

    • Kara

      While pride parades may not be your thing (I’m a lesbian and have never been to a pride parade nor do I have any desire to…it’s just not my thing), they are enjoyed by a large portion of the LGBT community. It’s somewhat closed minded to judge those that enjoy those types of things just because it’s not your thing. Of course the pride parades get most of the TV coverage these days because they are somewhat of a shock and awe for straight people that have never attended one before. Because of that, of course they’re going to get more coverage and in this world of minimal LGBT coverage, the media goes to the ones that are going to bring the most viewers. Granted, the coverage of LGBT individuals and issues continues to expand as the years go on and more and more of the “boring” and “normal” LGBT community will be exposed.

      Bottom line is, let people enjoy what they enjoy. Judging individuals on their enjoyment of something as a pride parade really isn’t any better then those that judge individuals simply because they’re gay. Pride parades are simply an aspect of the LGBT community and an aspect I’m sure many that are gay don’t enjoy themselves. More people that judged the LGBT community based on what they see at Pride Parades will start to realize this is only a small aspect of the community as they are exposed to the individuals in the LGBT community that are “boring” and just like them. It just takes time and the things that bring the most shock value always get the most media coverage. I don’t think that LGBT individuals enjoying what they enjoy is really a negative towards the LGBT community, it’s just going to take time.

  • Bette

    The Dr Ruth for the young crowd. Great idea.

    • Bette

      Ooops ! Or maybe that should be Ann Landers.

  • doop

    Savage gives the Worst. Sex Advice. Ever. PTC should keep their rolodex handy after this “Skins” controversy play itself out.

  • Matthew

    Dan Savage audited a human sexuality class I took last semester at IU. It was great having him in class to hear his views on things. I agree totally that he can seem like a jackass, but that’s only if you don’t get his dry sense of humor. And for the record, being intolerant of a group of people who fight tooth and nail to restrict your civil rights as guaranteed by the Constitution is completely justified.

    • JackieM

      Hmmm…. Dan audited a class this past fall?? Looks like someone was studying up for his MTV gig of which he knows nothing about.

      • Elli

        Yeah right. Spends 25 years doing something that draws millions of readers, yet knows absolutely nothing about the subject. And your degree is in…???

  • Perry

    Agree with Steve 100 percent that Dan Savage is a bully. I don’t think he’s an idiot, but he certainly is intolerant of anyone whom he deems unworthy for whatever reason. He is condescending and mean. I appreciate his “It Gets Better” project, but one good deed doesn’t make up for all the sh*tty ones.

    • Elli

      Do Maggie Gallagher and NOM and Tony Perkins and Donohue get a pass then? Just because you think Savage is a bully? What? We’re not supposed to fight these people?

  • Tulip

    Dan Savage is a caring and intelligent man. I can’t wait.

  • victoria

    You guys are a bunch of babies! Waaa Dan Savage is a bully. Puh-lease. He tells it like it is and the truth just hurts. He doesn’t coddle gays/bis/transgender, etc. just like he doesn’t coddle straight people. When anyone is acting ridiculous he let’s them know. And it’s not like they’re not asking for his advice. That’s his freakin job. He’s not just espousing his opinion without prompting. Sure he can be caustic but it’s real and genuine. He’s a good decent person that wants sexual freedom for all. Freedom comes at the price of accepting hard truths.

    • alceste

      […] Freedom comes at the price of accepting hard truths. […]

      Impressive, particularly since it comes from an underenhanced intellectually person like you –

      Keep thinking baby – your head will grow and you’ll get more insightful comments to post here regarding this rectal rights matter -

      • Elli

        Underenhanced? Big words don’t make you smart baby. Especially when they’re not real words.

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