Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson Recalls Almost Quitting TV Before ABC Picked Up The Comedy And Reveals When She Knew The Show Was Special

Quinta Brunson as Janine in Abbott Elementary Season 1
(Image credit: ABC)

Abbott Elementary became many viewers' favorite sitcom during its first season. That’s a rare feat for a television comedy, as many iconic shows (looking at you, fellow mockumentaries The Office and Parks and Recreation) took some time to catch on. Luckily, ABC’s firm faith in the teacher-centric comedy as well as creator and star Quint Brunson’s dedication paid off with high viewership and critical acclaim, cementing the show as one of the best comedies on TV. But the show’s meteoric success was only half the story for Brunson. With this, the comedian has revealed when she knew the series was special, and why she almost quit TV before it was picked up.

The A Black Lady Sketch Show alum opened up about her feelings on the hit workplace comedy while on Showtime’s Desus and Mero. During the chat, the multihyphenate explained that she penned the pilot and another Season 1 episode herself. The actress revealed she knew the series was special after completing the first installment. She said:

I wrote the pilot by myself, without my writers’ room. And when I submitted it, I had this feeling of like, ‘If this doesn’t go, I’m actually going to quit, and I’m going to go find another career.’ Because I knew it was the best I could do, but in a good way, where like, ‘This is the best that I can do, and if it’s not good enough, then I don’t really belong here.’ Because I did believe in it that much. So that was a good feeling to have.

That’s what I’m talking about! Have enough confidence in your work to be like "I’ll quit if others don’t see the vision." Of course, that gamble paid off, as the show found an audience quickly, thanks to the alphabet network’s scheduling tactics. But it wasn’t just her satisfaction with that first script that sealed the deal for the actress. Once she started filming the series, it became clearer to her just how special the comedy was:

And then once we were shooting the show, having Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler [James Williams] be in the same boat of like, ‘Yo, this is good, and I want to be here for a while.’ The network and studio being so supportive of something that was so different for ABC. And it was down to like the COVID team working on the show, them being like, ‘Yo, I like this show. I’m having a good time.’ And our camera operators… they loved it. Jeremiah, one in particular, would be like, ‘Yo, this is good. I cannot see what we are making, and I can’t wait to see it all together. That kind of stuff is priceless when everyone working on the show is proud of it.

The cast and crew’s synergy definitely shone through as fans tuned in during the first season, and the mockumentary style, in my opinion, really helped the series to better connect with viewers. And of course, having sitcom veterans like Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler James Williams on the set can more than help a project's chances and encourage others to step up their game. Given what Abbott Elementary has going for it, it's no real surprise that it's carved out a space for itself and is crushing other TV shows in terms of social media reach.

Right now, Quinta Brunson is already planning and writing the second season following the Season 1 finale’s excellent ratings. I'm excited to see what she and her writers' room come up with and am so glad that she didn't end up leaving Hollywood.

With Abbot Elementary Season 2 set, viewers can expect to see new episodes during the 2022-2023 season. While you wait, catch up on all the hijinks and laughs by getting a Hulu subscription and streaming the first season.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).