Viewers are not rallying behind When We Rise.
The ABC miniseries chronicling the history of the LGBT rights movement fell almost 1 million viewers from its premiere, netting an audience of only 2.05 million Wednesday with a 0.6 demo rating, reports Variety. The show, created by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, pulled in 2.95 million viewers during its Monday premiere, which followed The Bachelor.
To help in its promotion, ABC rescheduled Modern Family — a comedy that features a same-sex couple — to run before When We Rise's second installment. Modern Family garnered 6.37 million viewers, but the network's audience dropped off sharply afterward.
The miniseries, originally scheduled to run Monday through Thursday of this week, was interrupted by Donald Trump's Tuesday address to Congress. Thus, it premiered Monday, skipped Tuesday, and resumed Wednesday. The remaining installments will air Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
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When We Rise is not the only LGBT-oriented television show to be hurt by low ratings. Eyewitness, an acclaimed and groundbreaking crime thriller that centered on two gay youths who witness a murder, was axed by USA.
The series, directed by Adi Hasak and starring Julianne Nicholson, Tyler Young, and James Paxton (son of the late Bill Paxton), will not be returning for a second season after failing to find an audience, reports Variety. It averaged 639,000 viewers per episode.
Doubt, which made history as the first network television show to feature a trans actress (Laverne Cox) as a trans leading character, was also pulled by CBS Friday due to poor viewership.
The string of cancellations is ill-timed for the LGBT community, which is rallying to "protect trans kids" this month in an upcoming Supreme Court battle. In a time when LGBT rights are under attack — and myths about queer lives still influence laws related to same-sex marriage, adoption, employment, bathroom access, and so-called conversion therapy — these depictions are vital to changing hearts and minds.