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Gay 'Heroes' character turns straight

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Gay 'Heroes' character turns straight

Thomas Dekker

Warning: This article contains spoilers that some readers may prefer to avoid. Please click here if you wish to continue.

A Heroes character that producers intended to be gay has been re-written as straight for "behind the scenes" reasons.

Series creator Tim Kring envisaged Claire Bennett's schoolpal Zach - played by Thomas Dekker, 18 - to be gay, dropping numerous hints in episodes screened thusfar.

In the pilot episode, Zach is teased about getting an erection in the school lockerrooms while in an episode screened as recently as November 20, Zach declares that he knows who he is and is "proud of it".

The character's MySpace profile claims that, of his orientation, he is "not sure", while his favourite movies are identified as Velvet Goldmine and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

However, a spokeswoman for broadcast network NBC has now told blogging site After Elton that Zach "is not gay... in all certainty".

In an email to the site, Kring explained that Zach being gay was the original plan, one that was subsequently dropped for other reasons.

"It was certainly not our intention to confuse the issue of Zach’s character being gay," said Kring. "We have too much respect for our audience to do that intentionally. However, it has simply become too complicated behind the scenes to push this issue further with this particular character."

He added: "Heroes is a big, sprawling drama and there is no reason to believe that a gay character will not be represented on our show in the future. It is my hope than we do, we do it with honesty and dignity. That will certainly be our attempt."

Although the blog site speculated that NBC was to blame for the change of focus, TV Guide columnist Michael Ausiello suggested otherwise. "My sources tell me it was not NBC, but rather Dekker's camp that came down with a severe case of gay panic syndrome," he wrote. "In fact, there's speculation that Dekker's manager threatened to pull her client from the show unless the story was changed."

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