Concern for underserved working class Americans has predictably spread into the world of television. ABC is reportedly looking to cater more of its programming to rural parts of the country.
At a media summit in London on Tuesday, the president of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey, told reporters that the network’s portfolio of shows could use more balance to offset its aspirational centerpieces. This means the network has its eyes open for stories—specifically dramas—outside its recent purview.
“With our dramas, we have a lot of shows that feature very well-to-do, well-educated people, who are driving very nice cars and living in extremely nice places,” said Dungey. “There is definitely still room for that, and we absolutely want to continue to tell those stories because wish-fulfillment is a critical part of what we do as entertainers. But in recent history we haven’t paid enough attention to some of the true realities of what life is like for everyday Americans in our dramas.”
The heightened frustrations of the working class were bound to spill over beyond politics and into entertainment and consumerism, as those in power look to appeal to Americans who feel neglected. For a network with a healthy number of shows that don’t just star white people (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Quantico), this news may sound concerning, like the new slate would focus heavily on the white working class.
As Vulture notes, though:
To be sure, Dungey said nothing to indicate ABC plans an extreme makeover of its lineup. Instead, per C21, she pointed to the network’s comedy lineup, saying ABC’s half-hours do a better job offering a “balance” between financially comfortable characters (Modern Family, Black-ish) and more economically anxious folks (The Middle, Speechless). Dungey also pointed to the upcoming LGBT-themed miniseries When We Rise as an example of storytelling that is “more important to share than ever” after the results of November 8.
Sure, though the conversations about the working class have often centered around white poor people after this year’s election results. If this means more shows about all shades of blue-collar folks, then great.
At any rate, if anyone has a pitch for a scandalous series about a small-town farm family, now is the time.