The TV landscape is way more crowded than it was even just a handful of years ago, and with every new streamer or cable network the chances that we'll all miss a show we could truly enjoy increase by so much that it's difficult to even put a number on it. The CW's All American had been one series which had managed a small, dedicated group of fans, but didn't seem poised to really set the ratings on fire, despite it being given time to find an audience. That, however, changed in a major way when the teen drama hit Netflix, and now star Taye Diggs is talking about how the spike in popularity feels.
All American made its debut in the 2018-2019 television season, and was one of the lowest rated scripted dramas of the time. Season 2 built on the viewers a bit, but not enough for anyone to rejoice over the new eyeballs on the show. However, right after that season finished airing in March 2020, the entirety of Seasons 1 and 2 landed on Netflix and led to many newly-quarantined audiences finding All American on the streamer. So, how does Taye Diggs feel about the surge in popularity, now that Season 3 has hit The CW? Here's what he told Entertainment Weekly:
The story of this experience is, this is the one show where I kind of went with my gut instead of where the money was or where the other names were. I've gotten really lucky with the work that I've done, but before this show, I wasn't very familiar with The CW. And then the piece really moved me and I'm at the age now where I listen to that little voice inside. I stopped reading all the other scripts and I said I just wanted to stick with this one. So, that being said, it had a slow kind of start, and during that time, I said, ‘Okay, well maybe this is just for the experience.’ But then when people started to catch on, then I said, ‘Okay, I get it. It's happening the way it's supposed to.’ So, I'm so ecstatic that it's resonating with people. And for me, it's just the lesson to be patient and to keep listening to your instincts. We couldn't be more grateful.
I can bet that Taye Diggs, and the rest of the All American cast, really are grateful that people are finally beginning to find and appreciate the show they work so hard on. For those still uninitiated, the series follows South Central Los Angeles football sensation Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) as he moves to Beverly Hills to play high school football there. Spencer moves into the home of his new coach, Billy Baker (Diggs), and his family, and tries to adjust to the new school and his new teammates while trying to stay involved in the lives of his family and friends back home.
As Diggs noted in his interview, he knew going in that All American wouldn't likely mean a huge payday for him, and he also wasn't going to be working with any big names on the show, but he loved the material so much that he felt he couldn't pass up the opportunity. I can certainly see where it would feel good to follow your gut and take on a project like this, and have it finally connect with viewers as much as it did with you.
Season 3 of All American just debuted on January 18, and the continued buzz from its time on Netflix gave the premiere enough of a boost that it beat all of its previous viewership records. Seeing as how it's been almost a year since the football-focused drama took the streamer by storm, that stands as a pretty good sign that people who caught it there have been eagerly waiting to catch up with the story of a teen caught between his privileged new life and the more difficult upbringing he's (sorta) left behind.
We don't know yet if All American Season 3 will have 16 episodes, as the first two seasons did, but you can catch it every Monday on The CW at 9 p.m. EST, and you can still watch previous seasons on Netflix. For more to watch in the coming weeks, check out our guide to winter / spring 2021 TV!