7:00am PT by Kate Stanhope
'Carmichael Show' Star on Trump Presidency: The Show Is "Needed Now More Than Ever"
When The Carmichael Show wrapped its second season in May, the topical NBC sitcom raised more than a few eyebrows by titling its season finale, "President Trump."
Seven months later, Donald Trump is weeks away from being sworn in as the next president of the United States, yet the show that tackled a potential Trump presidency is nowhere to be found.
"It's like the frightening prophecy," series co-creator and star Jerrod Carmichael tells The Hollywood Reporter of his surprisingly true prediction.
The acclaimed series, best known for its approach toward touchy subjects such as race, religion, gun control and, yes, even partisan politics, was renewed for a 13-episode third season in May. However, in a move that left many in the industry scratching their heads, the series wasn't picked up until several hours after the network had announced it's 2016-'17 schedule. Because of the last-minute move, the show was absent from the fall slate as well as the tentative midseason schedule.
"I'm not really concerned. I'm really thankful for the audience that we have. We hope to continue to grow, so I'm not concerned," he says. "Now people have a way of finding it, and we hope the people find it and stay with us whenever it airs. Obviously, I'm excited so I want to get it to the people as soon as possible, but I don't really worry about that. There are so many other things to focus on."
But those other things the outspoken comedian might want to focus on are the exact reasons why fans are clamoring for the show's return. Inspired by the Norman Lear classics of yesteryear, the comedy regularly centers on and plays up those tough dinner-table conversations about issues like gender fluidity and abortion that, for many, became potential minefields in the wake of the election.
"There were certain moments where I was watching and I was like, 'Oh man, I wish we were on this week,' but a lot of times the perspective lingers. How people feel lingers. I think if we did an episode right now about election night, it would be as important as it was," Carmichael says of watching the events of the election while being off the air. "I don't worry too much about it because I think as long as we capture the truth of that, we'll be all right."
No matter when the show returns, the stand-up comedian thinks that the current political climate will be only to The Carmichael Show's advantage. "It only enhances it. Because we've kind of been this show that encourages and leans heavily into open conversation, and now that the lid's been blown off, so I think it's needed now more than ever and it's more important than ever. It gives us license to continue what we've been doing."
With that in mind, Carmichael and the writers are already hard at work on season three. In addition to covering topics such as rape, mass shootings and body image, an upcoming episode also drops another big D.C. name: that of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. When asked about a potential sequel to the "President Trump" episode, or at least another episode that deals directly with the former Celebrity Apprentice host, Carmichael is unsure of how he'll approach that particular subject the second time around.
"You kind of have these moments of, 'Oh, that's where we should land with it,' so I don't know yet. The Trump episode was the last episode we wrote and … until we know what the perspective was, I won't write anything," he says. "I'm just watching everything unfold and hoping for the best and seeing what happens. It's weird to hear, for the first time in my life, people talk about a presidency as if it's a hurricane that's coming."
In the meantime, Carmichael says conversations with the brass at NBC about a season three premiere date are currently underway. "We've had conversations and tried to talk strategy and tried to figure out exactly what's best for the show and when it can be most effective, but it's been a little bit looser," he says. "Obviously as time goes, we'll get more specific about it. It's a process that we're in at the moment."