Well, it’s happened. This TV season we’re losing CBS’ Mom (which just wrapped its run) and the long-running Last Man Standing (which wraps shortly). The tide will not be stymied next season, either, as the call was made to end longtime comedy black-ish on ABC after Season 8 as well. Kenya Barris revealed the news, also noting there is one bit of good news for fans who want to see the series wrap in a positive way.
First and foremost, black-ish will be going out on its own terms. The series is “cancelled” after Season 8 but it didn’t get axed by the network right now. Instead it will get the chance to wrap its storyline during the 2021-2022 TV season. Kenya Barris, who created the series, shared the news on Instagram, making sure to note the show has actually been renewed for Season 8. It’s just that Season 8 will also be the end. (I’m still of the opinion that’s ultimately a cancellation, just better than an abrupt one, but to each his or her own.) Per Barris:
To ALL the people in the world I love, honor, respect and care for it is both exciting and bittersweet to share that black-ish has been RENEWED by ABC for it’s EIGHTH... and FINAL SEASON. In this day and age it is rare to get to decide when your show should come to an end, and we are grateful along with ABC to be able to make this final season exactly what we’d hoped for – and to do it with the entire and AMAZINGLY STELLAR cast coming back to close this chapter out with us the right way!
The showrunner went on to talk about the Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson starrer and how the series changed his life. black-ish was notable for creating culturally relevant TV moments, one of which only later made it to Hulu. It also helped Kenya Barris to move on to the next part of his career, which ultimately meant shifting to streaming at Netflix for #BlackAF. Barris also shared his feelings about getting to work on network television, noting,
This show has changed my life in so many ways and I am so proud of the conversations we’ve started along the way. None of this would have been possible without our audience and supporters, who have championed the show every step of the journey; allowing us to change not just the narrative of Black Families, but of Family, Culture, and the World in general. All the while allowing us to talk about things that people were not supposed to talk about period... especially on a network television comedy.
You can see the full post, which also includes some touching interviews with Tracee Ellis Ross and more, below.
Ultimately, we're at a weird crossroads in the TV landscape. Cable and network subscribers still exist, but even the networks are increasingly sending their content to streaming platforms such as Peacock and Paramount Plus. Meanwhile, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and other streaming-only platforms are still jockeying for positions and eyeing each others' subscribers. There's so much TV content out there it's unbelievable, but it also means that audiences are watching at their own pace and appointment viewing is falling by the wayside, something I very much miss. I mean, remember when we all watched the Lost finale at once?
As for black-ish, the show had a great run and even produced spinoffs. Eight seasons is nothing to scoff at and is more than most comedies get and knowing that Season 8 will be the last should give the writers a great path to giving fans closure and wrapping on a high note. As for what Kenya Barris and the cast do next, we'll keep you updated.