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The network has opted to move Black-ish back to its traditional fall launch and bump Kari Lizer’s rookie comedy Call Your Mother to midseason.
“Black-ish has a long-standing history of shining a light on current events and honoring Black voices through the lens of the Johnson family,” said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. “After speaking with Kenya [Barris] and our creative partners, we decided it was important to tell these meaningful stories during this moment in time, so we are adjusting our premiere schedule and are committed to doing whatever it takes to bring this series back as soon as we possibly can. Following recent monumental events, it’s imperative that the dialogue continues and empowers viewers to raise their voices, and there is no other show that does that like Black-ish.”
The family comedy starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross will now air Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m., following The Goldbergs. Last season, the single-camera comedy created by Barris aired as part of ABC’s Tuesday comedy block. That lineup is on hold for the fall as ABC leans heavily into unscripted with The Bachelorette making its fall debut. The logic is that unscripted series will be easier to return to production than scripted originals once the guilds agree on new safety protocols amid the COVID-19 era. Additionally, new shows — such as Lizer’s Call Your Mother, starring Kyra Sedgwick — will take longer to produce given that the comedy was picked up straight to series without having completed work on the pilot before the global pandemic brought the industry to a halt.
“We are incredibly grateful to Karey, Dana [Walden] and Peter [Rice] for recognizing the importance of Black-ish in this moment and applaud them for making the necessary shifts to bring the show back as soon as possible,” said Barris. “While the last few months have felt overwhelming at times, they have also underscored just how important it is that Black voices are not only heard but empowered and amplified as well; and our entire Black-ish team is humbled to be a small part of telling our stories and are excited to get back to these conversations.”
Black-ish has never shied away from leaning into cultural subjects, including police brutality. The series is also expected to address life amid the novel coronavirus when it returns.
Given the uncertainty around when production can start, there is no clear time frame for when any scripted or unscripted series will return. Burke, in an interview this week with The Hollywood Reporter, admitted it was highly unlikely that ABC’s slate would return for the traditional late September Premiere Week. She expects originals to be back sometime in the fourth quarter.
Here’s ABC’s updated Wednesday schedule. Click here for the rest of ABC’s lineup.
8 p.m.: The Goldbergs
8:30 p.m.: Black-ish
9 p.m.: The Conners
9:30 p.m.: American Housewife
10 p.m.: Stumptown
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