With BLACK-ISH exploding into one of the most talked-about sitcoms of the past few years, ABC is eyeing a potential spinoff that would star series regular Yara Shahidi. The project is in early talks with a potential backdoor pilot from Kenya Barris and Larry Wilmore.
The spinoff would follow Shahidi as Zoey Johnson as she leaves the family nest and ventures out for college.
This is the second sitcom spinoff ABC has put in the works with The Goldbergs developing a second series set in the 90s. This year, Black-ish won attention for its ability to tackle serious issues with heart and humor, most recently seen in the election-themed “Lemons.”
Black-ish furthers ABC’s trend of pushing the envelope with their sitcoms, from Speechless to Fresh Off the Boat and oldest of the bunch, Modern Family. A spinoff would allow the network to continue using their sitcoms as a platform for social commentary, something the comedy genre is ripe for, but not all series pull off well. For the most part, ABC has nailed down the formula and looks to continue doing that.
Series leads Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross both received awards nominations with Ross winning the Golden Globe. The younger cast members have been praised but have not received the same awards attention. Shahidi, in particular, has developed a well-known profile to young audiences as an activist. Her passion and political involvement, with Black-ish’s focus on raising awareness to complex issues, could be a powerhouse combination.
Emily J | Staff Writer