The “ish” family is growing, as Kenya Barris’ comedy franchise is aiming to add a new addition in old-ish. When black-ish first premiered in 2014, not many people would’ve imagined that we’d be getting so many stories from the Johnson family. Yet the spinoffs that have followed over the past few years have further highlighted different aspects of their lives. This is something old-ish appears set to do and, based on its plot, it could prove to be something very different from its sister shows.
old-ish will center on Laurence Fishburne’s Earl “Pops” Johnson and Jenifer Lewis’ Ruby Johnson, the divorced parents of black-ish’s Dre Johnson. Per THR, the new show will see the two rekindle their romance and move to a Los Angeles neighborhood that’s undergoing gentrification. With this, the two will seek to maintain a healthy, marital relationship while dealing with the “new and old faces of the community.”
Kenya Barris is set to write and will also serve as executive producer alongside Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne and E. Brian Dobbins. Jenifer Lewis is also being credited as a producer. As of right now, the show is still in development and has yet to receive an official green light from ABC.
Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis have proven to have great comedic chemistry, so it’s no surprise that Kenya Barris would have interest in giving the two their own series. While old-ish would no doubt continue to give fans more of the ex-lovers’ bickering, the project would also be an opportunity to further develop the characters and show new sides of them. Of course, that’s what any ideal spinoff is designed to do with pre-existing characters.
All of the black-ish spinoffs have aimed to serve a different group of audiences and, if old-ish goes into production, the range of viewership would be quite large. Given its subject matter, the series would skew toward older viewers, unlike Freeform’s grown-ish -- the college-based branch of the “ish” family that’s aimed at young adults. On the other hand, both black-ish and ‘80s prequel mixed-ish likely have more overlap in viewership.
All of the shows have done a relatively effective job in catering to their respective audiences, and one can only hope that old-ish will do the same. The premise sounds promising and could allow Barris and his team to explore real issues that impact those who are aging in modern-day America.
With this third spinoff potentially on the way, one has to wonder if there are any more projects planned for what’s becoming one of the most expansive TV universes on television. I mean, even at this point, there’s still plenty of “ish” that can hit our screens.
As old-ish remains in development, black-ish, mixed-ish and grown-ish are all set to return for new seasons at some point during the 2020-2021 television season.