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Dustin Lance Black Responds To 'When We Rise's Ratings: 'It Will Live Online For A Long Time'

Dustin Lance Black Responds To 'When We Rise's Ratings: 'It Will Live Online For A Long Time'

Dustin Lance Black has responded to the reports that his limited series When We Rise received low ratings in its first few days of airing on ABC.

When We Rise, which aired every weeknight except Tuesday last week, pulled in 2.95 million viewers during its Monday premiere. It fell to 2.05 million during its second installment Wednesday, and tracked 2.12 million on Thursday, according to Variety.

“First and foremost, our ratings aren’t in yet. Those numbers do not come in for another week or so, so the verdict on who’s watching When We Rise is not in yet,” Dustin expressed (via Advocate). “Listen, would I like more people to watch live? Sure. I would also love to own a pet unicorn. We’ve always known, and it’s always been our belief, that this show is going to excel in DVR and online, because that’s how people watch miniseries now. This is not the era of Roots, where there’s three networks and you have to watch live. So, we’re really hopeful, I have to say.”

“I do believe that the vast majority of viewers will watch on DVR. And if we can double our viewership on DVR, we’re considered a hit,” Dustin added. “I’ll tell ya, I’ve never had something so well received by an audience in my career. Watching the response on Twitter, on Facebook, and on social media, the notes that are coming in, the emails that are coming in, it’s been so incredibly humbling this past week to hear how people are receiving [it]. But I have to say, almost every single one says, ‘I can’t wait to watch the rest of it this weekend on my DVR.’ This has been created. It will live online for a good long time. I hope it will be utilized by schools and by folks in the middle of the country that might feel a bit alone for a very long time.”

Pictured: Dustin attending a special Q&A for When We Rise hosted by GLG on Tuesday (March 7) in New York City.

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Credit: Andrew Toth; Photos: Getty
Posted to: Dustin Lance Black

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  • namers

    I tried to watch but it was boring, uninspired and derivative. Too much hype for a mediocre show.

  • MichaelBedwell

    Yes, the “alternate facts” Black told will, sadly, live a long time, including the Big Lie that he couldn’t resist regurgitating from “Milk” that Harvey was “the first gay man elected to major office”—even though his star character and faux “pioneer of the early gay rights movement” [Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Cleve Jones!] finally conceded in his autobiography upon which the series is “partially based” that it’s not true.

    Black’s twice-told tale required his erasing Allan Spear who was reelected as an out gay man to the Minnesota STATE Senate a year before Harvey finally won a city office. Spear served nearly thirty years, ten of which he was Senate President, and led the successful fight for the first state law to include protections for gender identity. It also required erasing a woman, out lesbian Elaine Noble who was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives three years before Harvey was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

    I know. I know. He couldn’t include EVERYBODY even if he hadn’t chosen to lie. After all, he only had NINE HOURS.

  • SaraJ

    Sorry, but the truth is people don’t want to watch stories about their kids turning out to be gay and trans because it’s scary. (Especially trans.) I asked my husband if we could watch it and he was adamant – no. He would have left the room.

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  • HarryR11

    It should have been titled “When We Rise in California”. I think a small town on the Atlantic coast might have played an incidental role in the Gay Rights movement. A mini riot in front of a bar that happened to be named the Stonewall seemed to be considered by some have played a role but we don’t want to overshadow San Francisco’s being the singular center of the Gay Rights movement in America.

  • plukasiak

    All the promos I saw left me with a sense of bad de javu. I felt like I’d already seen it, and thought it was hackneyed. So I didn’t watch.

    In other words, it wasn’t the subject matter. It was the whole “very special episode from season 6 of Will and Grace” vibe.

  • SDviaVa

    I watched Roots. When we rise is no Roots. Racist.

  • Stevechang64

    When will out of touch hollywood realize we just don’t want to be preached to. Over and over ABC and the other networks have forced useless shows on that that preach about their point of view. TIme and time again these shows have gone down in fames and ye they don’t seem to learn. We want entertainment and not preachiness.

  • Jack Bauer

    A vast majority of people will watch it online after it aired. Did he really just say that. That has litterally never happened in the history of Televesion. If he thinks over 3 million people who didn’t watch it at all when it was on like 6 nights in a row. Why would they try to find it online. When you consider that it couldn’t even hold its audience for a week that says the people that actually really wanted to watch it lost interest as it went on. Imagine how bad the drop off would have been if it was on once a week. They barely held above 2 million people when it was on every day.

  • dregj

    oh my god it was so boring
    some body do something