A New Black-ish Spinoff Is In The Works At ABC


The Black-ish universe expanded in a big way back in 2018 with the premiere of the Grown-ish spinoff, and now the folks at ABC are hoping that there’s still more mileage to get out of the Johnson family. If this second spinoff happens, however, it won’t simply see one of the characters depart to star in their own series. This project would be a prequel all about Rainbow, many years before Black-ish. Here’s what we know.

ABC is currently developing a project that could result in a second spinoff of Black-ish. As a prequel, it would almost certainly not star the hilarious Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow before she became Rainbow Johnson, although it could always feature her in a similar way to how Young Sheldon features Jim Parsons.

At this point, there are more questions than answers. The prequel concept will be explored in a Black-ish episode filmed in March, but no actors have yet been cast in the roles. THR reports that deals with writers are still being finalized, so even those who will pen the script are not certain just yet.

It has not been confirmed as to whether the episode would be a backdoor pilot or a spinoff pilot; either way, Black-ish fans should get to see a clearer glimpse into Rainbow’s past than the show has ever provided before. There is no news as to when the special episode will air, but we shouldn’t count on seeing it too soon. After all, the episode will only film in March.

While backdoor/spinoff pilots unfortunately do not always result in the order for a new series, there are reasons to be optimistic about the Rainbow-centric series. Grown-ish, starring original Black-ish star Yara Shahidi, was a hit and scored a renewal for Season 2.

Admittedly, Grown-ish airs on the younger-skewing Freeform, which is less competitive than ABC, but it’s proof that members of the Johnson family can carry a show outside of the original. Even though Rainbow would presumably be pre-Johnson, she’s still the character who has become so beloved on Black-ish.

On top of the evidence of spinoff success courtesy of Grown-ish, ABC may take the success of Young Sheldon over on CBS into account. The Big Bang Theory spinoff has been a hit for the Eye Network, capitalizing on the success of the parent show and still managing to connect to it despite its status as a prequel.

Although Black-ish doesn’t draw the same kind of ratings as The Big Bang Theory, a spinoff pulling in even a portion of the Black-ish numbers could be a winner for ABC.

This potential Black-ish spinoff news comes after 2018 saw behind-the-scenes issues between the creator and the network, but the show never faltered despite any conflicts between the people in charge. The 100th episode aired back in November, and it honored Prince in some fabulous ways.

Tune in to ABC on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET for new episodes of Black-ish, featuring the wonderful Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow. For more viewing options between now and whenever the prequel episode debuts, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).