After eight amazing seasons, the ABC sitcom Black-ish is coming to an end. In 2014, screenwriter Kenya Barris introduced TV audiences to the Johnsons, his fictional upper-middle-class African-American family, and he used them to address the very real issues that Black America faces every day. The show has been nominated for multiple NAACP Image Awards, Primetime Emmys, and SAG Awards, among other honors, and its success led to two spinoffs, Freeform’s Grown-ish and the now-cancelled Mixed-ish. ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich spoke with Deadline about the series’ close and the odds of bringing some previously rumored offshoots to life.
“[W]hen we talk about the world of Black-ish,” Erwich said, “there are so many different iterations that we are open to; it’s really up to Kenya who is the master and the captain of the franchise.” However, there are two projects that were discussed in the past: Old-ish, which focused on the Johnson grandparents as played by Jenifer Lewis and Lawrence Fishburne, and a brainchild of Barris and Eva Longoria called Brown-ish that centers around a modern Latinx family.
“Brown-ish is still a concept that is in development, we haven’t rolled out the firm plans around that yet,” Erwich said. But he then tacked on the following statement: “On Old-ish, we have no current plans to make it as a pilot.”
Anthony Anderson sat with Cheddar News to give his thoughts on wrapping up the series. “It’s bittersweet,” he told host Baker Machado. “We’ve had an unprecedented run, in this day and time for broadcast television, for a sitcom with eight seasons. We still have more stories to tell and would love to tell those stories, but all good things must come to an end. And it’s best to go out while you’re on top than otherwise.”
Tracee Ellis-Ross went on her IG account and shared her feelings on the end of Black-ish. “The joy and pride in what we have made is immeasurable,” she wrote. “Thank you for laughing, crying, and growing with the Johnsons! Thank you to the #blackish family; our cast, writers, and crew, what a journey it’s been with all of you. My love for you runs deep!”
Barris also took to Instagram and overflowed with a deep appreciation for what Black-ish meant to him as well. “This show has changed my life in so many ways, and I am so proud of the conversations we’ve started along the way,” he wrote. “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…”
“Tears fill my eyes and a smile brightens my face,” Barris concluded his caption, “as I say thank you to ALL of my blackish family for all you have given of yourselves.”