'Rise' Producers Defend NBC Drama Amid Allegations of "Straight-Washing"

The Hollywood Reporter | 1/13/2018 | Lesley Goldberg
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NBC's Rise is not shying away from telling LGBTQ stories.

Despite a wave of headlines suggesting otherwise since Rise creator Jason Katims appeared before press Jan. 9, the drama inspired by the book Drama High is telling its own story and is not "straight-washing" its lead character of Lou as has been suggested by multiple media outlets (many of whom were not present for the news conference).

Misinterpretation - Show - Individuals - Rise - Executive

"The misinterpretation by some of what we've done with this show goes against what we fundamentally believe and who we are as individuals," Rise executive producers Katims, Jeffrey Seller (Hamilton) and Flody Suarez said in a joint statement Saturday. "We are firmly committed to LGBTQ inclusion, and most of all, are excited for the community to see Rise, which we believe portrays positive depictions of LGBTQ characters and stories on broadcast television with honesty and sensitivity. To that end, we worked with GLAAD on the show's LGBTQ storylines to ensure they are told with respect and authenticity.”

To be clear, author Michael Sokolove's nonfiction book Drama High tells the true story of Lou Volpe, a man who spends more than four decades of his life teaching drama in a high school in Pennsylvania. Volpe is a married man with children who comes out as gay late in life, which Drama High explores at length.

Jason - Katims - Explains - How - Night

Jason Katims Explains How 'Friday Night Lights' Influenced NBC's 'Rise'

For Katims (the showrunner behind NBC critical dramas Parenthood and Friday Night Lights), Rise is inspired by Drama High and Volpe's life rights. His central character of Lou Mazzuchelli (played by Josh Radnor) is, like the show itself, different from Volpe and Drama High. (Volpe consults on the series.) Rise's Lou, least through the first five episodes provided for critics, is straight.

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Katims addressed that during his time at the Television Critics Association's winter press...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Hollywood Reporter
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