Huge Ratings Are In for Bruce Jenner Interview
The ratings are in and huge numbers of people watched the Bruce Jenner special, with plans already confirmed for more Jenner programming on TV.
More than 17 million people watched Bruce Jenner come out as a transgender woman, according to ratings for the ABC special reported by Variety. The interview between Jenner and Diane Sawyer was a two-hour episode of 20/20 whose audience grew over the course of the program, according to Nielsen ratings analyzed by Variety:
"20/20 opened at 9 p.m. with a 4.9 rating/17 share in 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers overall and then grew both at 9:30 (5.1/17 in 18-49, 17.0 million) and 10 (5.4/18, 17.2 million) before dipping in the final 30 minutes (5.2/18, 16.8 million)."
Meanwhile, E! confirmed it will indeed air a docuseries with Jenner at the center. The show was in question after Jenner was involved in a car accident that left one person dead.
The producers of Keeping Up With the Kardashians will follow Jenner (who prefers to use male pronouns for now) through his transition in eight episodes set to air in July, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Respected transgender activist and GLAAD board member Jenny Finney Boylan, who is author of She's Not There, confirmed she is a consultant on the production.
Boylan was also a prominent voice in the 20/20 episode, which seemed to surprise activists for its respectful treatment of Jenner and accurate portrayal of what it means to be transgender.
"You know how it goes: my interview with Diane Sawyer for tonight's show was 3 hours long," she kidded afterward on Twitter, "They used 2 minutes."
Aside from Jenner coverage, there is an explosion of reality programming based around transgender people set to reach television. ABC Family will premier a show called Becoming Us on June 8, following a teenager in Illinois with a transgender parent. TLC will air All That Jazz this summer, starring trans teen Jazz Jennings. VH1 is planning TransAmerica, produced by Tyra Banks.
This comes in addition to the award-winning fictional programs such as Transparent on Amazon and Laverne Cox starring in Orange Is the New Black on Netflix.
And, Sawyer ended her special by mentioning Jenner invited her and the cameras to return in one year to see how life unfolds over 2015.