What Black-ish's New Spinoff Mixed-ish Will Be About

Black-ish Tracee Ellis Ross Rainbow Bow Johnson ABC
(Image credit: Ron Tom / ABC)

Black-ish’s latest spinoff, the prequelized mixed-ish, has been given the official go-ahead at ABC! What is it going to be about? If you have been following the progress of black-ish’s backdoor pilot, you may have a good idea. But even if not, that's what we're here for.

Mixed-ish will be both a spinoff and a prequel to black-ish, as it will chronicle the childhood years of Tracee Ellis Ross’ Rainbow “Bow” Johnson. Before You Know It's Arica Himmel will play 12-year-old Bow in the spinoff, which will partly focus on Bow’s experiences growing up in a mixed-race family during the 1980s. We won't get to see it as soon as it was initially planned, but more on that lower.

The prequel will tell the tale of Bow’s life as her family transitions after moving into the suburbs after living in a hippie commune. Mixed-ish will, of course, delve into the dilemmas that Bow’s family faces in suburbia as they wrestle with whether to stay true to who they are or to conform along with everyone else.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that black-ish was casting actors to play Bow’s parents for a 1980s-set episode meant to be used as a backdoor pilot for the then-untitled spinoff. The Have and the Have Nots’ actress Tika Sumpter will star as Bow’s mom, Alicia, on mixed-ish, and she'll offer a younger take on Anne Deveare Smith's Alicia on black-ish proper. Sumpter was cast to star in the backdoor pilot, and will remain with the now-greenlit series.

Champions and Workaholics star Anders Holm had previously been cast as Bow’s dad, Paul, for the backdoor pilot. Unfortunately, the role is being recast as the project moves to series. According to THR, the producers chose to go in a different direction with the character, thus the recasting. Beau Bridges played Paul on the original series, so perhaps someone else from the Bridges family could get involved?

Bow’s siblings, Johan and Santamonica, will respectively be played by newcomer Ethan William Childress and Big Little Lies' Mykal-Michelle Harris for mixed-ish. Hamilton's Daveed Diggs and Angie Tribeca's Rashida Jones portray the siblings as adults on black-ish, so it'll be interesting to see how the character dynamics match up. Also, set to star in mixed-ish is Veep great Gary Cole, who will play Bow’s grandfather Harrison, per TVLine.

Now, remember how Mixed-ish was supposed to kick off as a backdoor pilot? The flashback episode that was going to launch the new was originally supposed to air on May 7. Now that it's gotten the greenlight already, though, the Bow-focused installment is getting postponed.

Don't worry, of course, since fans will still get to see the episode that was being planned, though it is now being saved for black-ish’s next season. The flagship sitcom also got good news via a renewal for Season 6. Something to look forward to!

The question now is when that episode will show up. Considering the show is currently going into recasting for at least one major role, it's hard to know whether mixed-ish will be a fall premiere or a midseason entry. As well, it's unknown whether ABC would want to air the shows back-to-back event to keep fans tuned in. The timeslot following black-ish is currently occupied by Bless This Mess, which could theoretically change when fall arrives.

Mixed-ish’s pickup makes it the second black-ish spinoff to successfully be ordered to series. It joins the sequel spinoff grown-ish, which was set up at ABC, but currently airs on Freeform. Grown-ish follows Bow and Andre’s oldest child, Zoey played by actress Yara Shahidi. After initially being developed for ABC, it found its final home on Freeform.

It seems as though mixed-ish will remain at ABC, however, and it is the Alphabet Network’s first official pickup for the post-summer television seasons. Black-ish fans have the rest of the current season to enjoy while awaiting mixed-ish. Not to mention the third season of grown-ish that's also on the horizon.

Mixed-ish should join black-ish on ABC’s primetime slate either this fall or soon after. New episodes of black-ish air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. The series’ Season 5 finale airs May 21 at the same time and place.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.