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‘American Crime’ EP Teases A Possible Season 4; ‘When We Rise’ EP On The Fight For Social Justice — Contenders Emmys

Deadline logo Deadline 4/9/2017 Amanda N'Duka
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ABC’s American Crime just debuted its third season in March, and though it hasn’t been renewed for a fourth, EP Michael J. McDonald hinted at the next topical venture. “There is a story that we want to tell,” he said. “Seeing what’s happening on Fox News and what’s happening with Uber, you’re seeing the role that women play in the workforce,”  he shared, possibly teasing the topic of sexual harassment.

McDonald, who was onstage with actors Felicity Huffman, Regina King and Benito Martinez at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event Sunday, continued on the topic of a possible renewal.

“Unfortunately with broadcast television it’s very hard to get an audience–  our audience may not be there right now,” he said. Added Huffman: “If there isn’t a Season 4, I’m so honored that this is our last season. I think ABC has changed the face of network TV and what network TV can do. … They are beyond what cable can do. Sometimes those things have a short shelf life, but the ripple effect is great.”

This season spotlights topics of immigration and crimes of “forced labor” and its effects on a specific community. The disparity of immigration and labor “was a conversation people were having,” McDonald said when coming up with the concept for Season 3, which coincided with the beginning stages of the election. “The shock was that the other side won. I had hoped that it wouldn’t be as relevant as it is right now and that we’ve moved towards the direction where we could make some changes. Unfortunatelyn we’ve moved towards the opposite direction as country.”

Created and exec produced by John Ridley, American Crime airs Sundays on ABC.

Dustin Lance Black, creator and exec producer of ABC’s miniseries When We Rise, had a solo appearance at The Contenders Emmys. Star Guy Pearce was scheduled to join Black today but couldn’t make it because of visa issues. “These visas that are usually approved for artist within 48 hours are taking weeks and months now,” said Black. “It’s one of the effects of the new administration.”

The series, which began airing the day after the Oscars, is a seven-part, docudrama about the gay rights movement and chronicles the personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. civil rights struggle.

“We had never had an LGBTQ movement or history told in this kind of popularized fashion,” said Black. “It broke my heart every day that we didn’t have that. It’s hard to be a people without a history. It’s hard to be inspired as a young person or have hope out there in the country if you don’t know you have forefathers and foremothers. The whole point of this was to finally bring that history to the screen … in order for it to feel truthful and connect.”

Black, an Oscar winner for his original screenplay for 2008’s Milk, said of the response garnered from the series, “I’ve never had anything so well received in my career.”

He added: “This show, at its root, says we are stronger together, that we can beat the backlash together. Not just LGBTQ people together but all of our social just movements locked arm and arm, pushing back against backlash to get us moving towards progress for all people.”

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