Early 2017 could not be a better time to be Kenya Barris in the entertainment world. His sitcom Black-ish is currently one of the most consistent comedy hits, both for its network ABC and for TV in general, and he's got projects blooming on screens both big and small. His latest potential success was announced today, as ABC has reportedly put a spinoff series for Black-ish in development. Unlike how many recent reboots and revivals came into being, the Black-ish iron is being struck while it's still hot.
This follow-up Black-ish project would not be a family comedy, and would instead center on Zoey Johnson, the eldest daughter played by Yara Shahidi. Details are still very fresh and tentative, but Zoey's college life would likely be the thrust for the spinoff. According to THR, movement on this new comedy could happen sooner than we all might have expected, with a possible backdoor pilot entering the back end of Black-ish's ongoing third season. That's a classic TV move.
I'm really not sure what a proper Black-ish spinoff would be about if not Zoey branching off from the rest of the Johnson clan and heading off on her own. Or, at least to college, since I doubt her family is going to truly let her off without a few interruptions. Kenya Barris does a great job of using Black-ish as a platform to speak on societal woes while still squared up with the traditional network comedy format, and a secondary series focusing specifically on a young black female entering adulthood via higher education could be a powerful project hearkening back to A Different World. And from a business perspective, it could skew even better within the key adult demographic than Black-ish.
This is Kenya Barris' second pilot in contention right now; he has the comedy Libby & Malcolm in the works at ABC with the home run duo of Courtney B. Vance and Felicity Huffman as the leads. He also recently got linked up with an inexplicable remake of the Wesley Snipes-Woody Harrelson comedy White Men Can't Jump, so his schedule is pretty set. It's not out of the realm of reality to think that showrunner duties would get passed on to someone else for Zoey's Black-ish spinoff should it move forward.
With recent Golden Globe winner Tracee Ellis-Ross kicking tail as Bow Johnson, Black-ish airs Wednesday nights on ABC. While waiting to hear about this and other network spinoffs in development, head to our midseason premiere schedule to see when you can find everything else heading to TV in the near future.