I Am Cait
has been renewed for a second season, airing in 2016. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the series had been expected to do immensely well before it first aired, given the 20 million views Caitlyn Jenner’s momentous appearance on Diane Sawyer garnered. The series’ premiere ultimately earned 3.9 million viewers — which was actually rather high for E! — becoming the biggest series premiere for the channel in over 10 years. And though its numbers subsequently swan dived, clearly the network is willing, given the initial promise and excitement — and perhaps even due to the fact that it is very mildly revolutionizing reality TV — to give it another shot.
On its premiere, I’d written that it was “highly empathic television that’s also strategically hitting all the right notes to be accepted by all parties,” and that that makes it a “fascinating specimen of a new form of social justice oriented reality TV.” It was intriguing to watch the show attempt to break the typically tawdry reality TV mold by fitting into another mold of (perhaps too) careful TV making. It banked on appealing to people’s good sides, which was refreshing, as so much other reality TV so often elsewhere appeals to schadenfreude. It seemed to be legitimately empathic, and no matter what you could argue was behind it, it was widely agreed that the show was an big step towards greater trans visibility.
E!’s Executive Vice President of Original Programming said, “Caitlyn’s story has ignited a global conversation on the transgender community on a scale that has never been seen before…We are honored Caitlyn has chosen to continue to share her ongoing evolution with our viewers around the world.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation,” said Jenner herself in a statement surrounding the renewal, and also on Twitter — with the type of vague phrasing that fits perfectly into the series’ safe — yet still bold in its newness — version of an attempt at socially conscious reality TV.