Reza Aslan: ABC Dropped My Muslim-American Sitcom After Trump Was Elected

The network is trying to appeal to the “economically anxious” since the 2016 presidential election.

March 06, 2017
Reza Aslan: ABC Dropped My Muslim-American Sitcom After Trump Was Elected Reza Aslan speaks at the TCA Turner Winter Press Tour 2017 Presentation in Pasadena, California January 14, 2017. Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Turner

Reza Aslan, host of CNN's Believer, discussed his experience creating a sitcom about a Muslim-American family with ABC in a new interview with Vulture. Aslan claims that, after the election of President Donald Trump, the show was "thrown aside" by the network in order to focus on programs considering more appealing to Trump's base of voters.

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The program was based on Aslan's life with his family as they moved from Iran to Oklahoma. "[T]here was an enormous amount of enthusiasm for the show until Donald Trump won the presidency," Aslan said, "and then at the highest level, there was a real decision to start to figure out how to appeal to what they erroneously saw as some new wave of red-state Americans... we were just simply thrown aside — our show went away."

Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, said last year that the network's dramatic programming should better reflect broader swathes of America. "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,” she said. The network is currently airing two sitcoms about nonwhite families, Fresh Off The Boat and Blackish.

Aslan said that ABC gave him the rights to the program, and he's currently shopping it around. "They said, 'We’re not gonna do this anymore, but we think it should be done so get out there and get someone else to do it.'"

The FADER has reached out to ABC for comment.

Reza Aslan: ABC Dropped My Muslim-American Sitcom After Trump Was Elected