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TCA: ABC Unfazed by ‘When We Rise’ Backlash, Announces Midseason Premieres

by Devon Thomas  |  01.10.2017

ABC miniseries When We Rise, which depicts the LGBT community’s fight for civil rights, is sure to spark a firestorm in some corners of the country, but Channing Dungey, ABC president of entertainment, said that won’t affect ABC’s commitment to air programming that might provoke. The miniseries, from Dustin Lance Black, debuts Feb. 27 and will run through March 2.

Speaking with Broadcasting & Cable Tuesday at the TCA 2017 winter press tour in Pasadena, Dungey said the trailer got more than 2 million views in its first 48 hours, and plenty of negative comments from those who do not share the network’s views on inclusive programming.

“What I want to do is tell stories that I think are compelling and important and reflect the world we live in,” Dungey said. “I want to work with filmmakers who have a real voice and vision. No matter what you do, you’ll get backlash from someone about something, and you can’t let that dictate the decisions you make. You have to follow your gut and your passion, and the storytellers whose stories you want to share.”

Earlier in the day, the TV trade magazine reported that When We Rise screenwriter Dustin Lance Black said the miniseries was under attack by the alt-right and that he was “incredibly grateful to ABC for its courage” on the project.

ABC announced a batch of other premiere dates and said its TGIT block returns Thursday, Jan. 26, with Grey’s Anatomy, the season six premiere of Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder.

Time After Time gets its two-hour premiere March 5, following Once Upon a Time.

Kiefer Sutherland’s Designated Survivor comes back on Wednesday, March 8. On Sunday, March 12, anthology series American Crime will premiere its third season. Imaginary Mary gets a sneak peak later in the month, before settling into its actual time slot in early April. Pre-taped three-hour musical event Dirty Dancing is slated for Wednesday, May 24.

The full midseason premieres schedule, all announced by ABC, is available through The Wrap.

RELATED: ABC’s ‘When We Rise’ Offers Emotional Look at LGBT Rights Struggle

READ MORE: Broadcasting & Cable, The Wrap

[Image courtesy of ABC via Broadcasting & Cable]

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