ABC is Planning a ‘Black-ish’ Spinoff Starring Yara Shahidi


If you’ve been watching the current third season of ABC’s Black-ish, you’ve probably noticed more than a few references to the fact that the Johnson family’s eldest, 17-year-old Zoey (Yara Shahidi), is about to finish high school. (Her dad, Dre, played by Anthony Anderson, has been a total wreck.) Black-ish is a family sitcom, mostly taking place in the Johnson’s swanky L.A. home, which begs the question: What to do with Zoey when she leaves the nest?

A spinoff, of course! Deadline reports that ABC is planning a spinoff centered on Zoey’s college experience. The new show, which is being developed by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and executive producer Larry Wilmore — who also co-created HBO’s Insecure with Issa Rae — will reportedly be tested via a backdoor pilot later this year. (Which just means it’ll sneak in as an episode of Black-ish, like that random, ill-fated episode of Gilmore Girls where we follow Jess to Venice Beach, where his father lives.)

Considering Black-ish needs to find a way to deal with Zoey’s inevitable flying of the coop, it makes sense to send her off on her own adventure rather than justify her sticking around. Zoey’s a smart, ambitious young woman who’d jump at the chance for some independence. And considering Black-ish‘s debt to The Cosby Show — another sitcom centered on an upwardly mobile black family in a major U.S. city — the move mirrors that show’s spinoff, A Different World, which followed Lisa Bonet’s Denise Huxtable when she went off to the fictional Hillman College, a historically black college in Virginia.

There are no details yet on where Zoey might go, or what she might study, but her recent internship with Teen Vogue — in an episode that guest-starred the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Elaine Welteroth — and her consistently funky fashion sense is as good a hint as any.