This show's premise is very loosely based on the childhood experiences of writer, "It Gets Better" campaign co-creator, and one of The Real O'Neals executive producers, Dan Savage. Savage, like Kenny, grew up as a gay kid in a devoutly Catholic Irish-American family with his father working as a Chicago cop, and his parents divorcing.

In February 2016, the conservative activist group Catholic League ran an ad in The New York Times condemning ABC for planning to air The Real O'Neals on the basis of what the league's president, Bill Donohue, called Dan Savage's "maniacal hatred of Catholicism."

The show was cancelled by abc after the second season

This is the second show centering on the life of a gay leading character in which Bebe Wood appears as a series regular. The first was "The New Normal."