Deadline is reporting that ABC critical darling Black-ish will produce a flashback episode that focuses on Bow’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) upbringing as a biracial young woman in the ’80s-’90s. It’s as yet unclear whether this will be a backdoor pilot that airs as part of Black-ish‘s current season or if this will be a pilot separate from that show’s 24-episode order. Casting has yet to begin, while filming is said to be occurring in March.
Should this project get a series order from ABC, it would be the second spinoff from modestly rated Black-ish following Freeform’s college comedy Grown-ish, which was just renewed for a third season. Assuming that it would then stay on ABC, it could be the third spinoff airing alongside its parent show, joining Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, as well as The Goldbergs and Schooled.
Though Black-ish has been an important part of the ABC lineup, in addition to the first ABC-produced comedy the network got to syndication in almost two decades, it’s interesting that this is a project that could wind up with two spinoffs while network comedy cornerstones The Middle and Modern Family might not have one between them. ABC rejected Middle spinoff pilot Sue Sue in the City late in 2018, while Modern Family‘s only proposed spinoff focused on Rob Riggle’s character and didn’t receive a series order.
This proposed Black-ish spinoff comes at a time when networks are doubling down on spinoffs, reboots, revivals, and series adaptations of known IP in a bid to increase sampling. Currently in development across the broadcast networks are spinoffs of Jane the Virgin, Riverdale, FBI, and Law & Order; revivals of New York Undercover; a sequel to NYPD Blue; American-ized versions of The Baker and the Beauty and Until the Wedding; and series based on comic series (Stumptown), John Mayer songs (Heart of Life), books (The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Council of Dads, Lincoln), movies (The Lost Boys), and literary characters (Frankenstein, Nancy Drew).