As the recent upfronts come to an end, the long-discussed spinoff idea from the hit ABC’s show, Black-ish became a reality. The new show, College-ish, will debut on the ABC-owned channel Freeform, which made a 13-episode commitment to the new comedy starring Yara Shahidi.
Fellow castmember Deon Cole will also join the show, which follows the Johnson’s eldest daughter Zoey (Shahidi) as she heads off to college and quickly discovers that not everything goes her way once she leaves the nest. The series will follow the lead of Black-ish by casting a contemporary light on the current issues facing both students and administrators in the world of higher education. Cole plays Charlie, who moonlights as an adjunct marketing professor. They’ll be joined by new characters both in the administration and student body who all reflect the complex and hilarious points of view that populate college campuses.
Black-ish viewers got a sneak peak of possibly what the show will look like as a recent episode focused on Zoey transitioning to college and her parents struggling with the challenge of letting their daughter go. That episode served as a backdoor pilot for College-ish, which also featured Chris Parnell, Matt Walsh, and young actor Trevor Jackson. While ABC liked the pilot they deemed that it skewed too young the network but would fit right into the millennial demo target of sibling channel, Freeform. Talks about migrating the comedy from ABC to the cable network started about 10 days ago.
This move is similar to the move that The Cosby Show made when it spun off the Huxtables’ daughter Denise, played by Lisa Bonet, into her own series, A Different World, when she went to college.
Black-ish creator, Kenya Barris, along with Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and Brian Dobbins will serve as executive producers of the series. Barris and Larry Wilmore, who is no longer with the project, wrote the pilot.