It was announced in January that ABC was working on a spin-off series from their hit show Black-ish, starring Yara Shahidi playing as her character Zoey Johnson as she goes off to college. Now it seems the cast is beginning to take shape for the backdoor pilot episode, expected to air on Black-ish in the next month.
According to Deadline, Chris Parnell (SNL, 30 Rock), as well as Matt Walsh (VEEP) and Trevor Jackson (American Crime) have been announced to be signed on to appear in the first season if the series does indeed get picked up. The pilot episode has already been filmed, with Parnell and Walsh playing college administrators, while Jackson as a fellow freshman. Walsh, who is a regular on HBO’s VEEP, will most likely not be a regular, but possibly recurring.
The show concept was thought up by Black-ish creator/executive producer Kenya Barris as well as former Black-ish showrunner Larry Wilmore. Barris is also working on ABC comedy pilot Libby & Malcolm, which stars Courtney B. Vance and Felicity Huffman.
The series is reminiscent of what NBC did with The Cosby Show in the 1980s. The Huxtables’ daughter Denise, portrayed by Lisa Bonet, went off to college and got her own spin-off series A Different World. The series followed Denise and her group of friends at a historically all-black college, and lasted for six seasons. Although Lisa Bonet was only a regular for the first few seasons, A Different World had such a great cast, it was able to go on without her.
Meanwhile, Black-ish is on season 3. For this year’s SAG awards and Golden Globes, the show was nominated for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series as well as Best Male Actor in a Comedy Series for Anthony Anderson. Tracee Ellis Ross took home the award for Best Actress in Television Series Musical or Comedy. In 2015, Black-ish made AFI’s List of Top 10 Television Programs. It also recently obtained a streaming deal with Hulu.
Parnell has appeared in successful comedies such as Anchorman and 21 Jumpstreet, while Walsh has been in comedies such as Ted and The Hangover. Both will be seen next year with Melissa McCarthy in comedy Life of the Party.
Look for the final episode of this season of Black-ish on May 17th.