Overview

Black-ish is a sitcom television show series developed by Kenya Barris which airs on ABC. On September 24, 2014, the show had its premiere episode air. Thus far, six seasons of the show have aired. The series was renewed by ABC for a seventh season on May 21, 2020.

The success of the show has also given rise to a spin-off named Grown-ish. This follows the life of one of the main characters as she heads off to college. ABC placed an order for a prequel spin-off in May 2019 called Mixed-ish, which depicts one of the main characters’ biracial family during the 1980s.

Premise

Black-ish depicts the story of an African American family who live an upper middle class lifestyle. The head of the family is Andre “Dre” Johnson, who is played by Anthony Anderson. Meanwhile, his wife, Rainbow Johnson, is played by Tracee Ellis Ross. The series is centered around the lives of the family and depicts their struggles and successes as they juggle a variety of social, political, personal, and family issues.

Other characters on the show include Andre and Rainbow’s four children, Zoey Johnson, Jack Johnson, Andre Johnson, Jr., and Diane Johnson. Josh Oppenhol, Charlie Telphy, Ruby Johnson, Leslie Stevens, and Earl Johnson are also characters who come to take on roles in the show of varying degrees of importance.

Cast and characters

  • Andre “Dre” Johnson Sr. – Anthony Anderson
  • Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson – Tracee Ellis Ross
  • Zoey Johnson – Yara Shahidi
  • Andre “Junior” Johnson Jr. – Marcus Scribner
  • Jack Johnson – Miles Brown
  • Diane Johnson – Marsai Martin
  • Ruby Johnson – Jenifer Lewis
  • Josh Oppenhol – Jeff Meacham
  • Leslie Stevens – Peter Mackenzie
  • Charlie Telphy – Deon Cole
  • Pops – Laurence Fishburne

Filming locations

The vast majority of filming for Black-ish takes place at ABC Studios in the city of Burbank, California. Other filming locations include Pasadena, Marina Del Rey, North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks (all in California).

Production

In October of 2013, Black-ish first showed up on ABC’s development slate, after it was announced that Anthony Anderson, the star of the series, had gotten a script commitment for the project. ABC allowed the pilot episode to go forward on January 16, 2014.

Larry Wilmore became the series showrunner two weeks after that. Laurence Fishburne was asked to play the father of the main character in February, and the female lead role went to Tracee Ellis Ross.

The pilot for the show was picked up for a series by ABC on May 8, 2014 for the television season running from 2014 to 2015. Larry Wilmore then stepped down as the series showrunner due to his commitments on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, a forthcoming late night television show.

Episodes and reception

Thus far, six seasons of Black-ish have aired, with a seventh season ordered and in progress at the time of writing. Seasons 1, 2, and 3 each have 24 episodes, while seasons 4, 5, and 6 have 23 episodes.

The first season of Black-ish depicts Dre, played by Anthony Anderson, as a family man and the head of his household who is attempting to find his cultural identity while living with his family in a neighborhood that is primarily white.

The first season was picked up by ABC with a full season order of 24 episodes after only six episodes had aired. On May 8, 2015, the series was renewed by ABC for a second season.

ABC renewed the show for its third season on March 3, 2016. It was taken on by the network for a fourth instalment on May 10, 2017. Interest remained in the show, so the order for a fifth season was given on May 11, 2018. ABC ordered an additional two episodes for the show’s fifth season on December 14, 2018, which brought the show’s season total up to 24 episodes. Finally, ABC renewed the show for its sixth season on May 2, 2019.

Critical response

The first season of Black-ish was met with favorable reviews, as it received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 86% and a Metacritic score of 77 out of 100. Laurence Fishburne’s performance was particularly praised.

The fourth season of Black-ish was also met with universal critical acclaim, as it received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100%.

Anthony Anderson’s portrayal of the patriarch of the family has garnered critical acclaim as well, as it has earned him several nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

Black-ish has generally garnered favourable reviews. The show has obtained both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, as well as a TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. Furthermore, Tracee Ellis Ross has garnered a great deal of individual praise and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

The series ranks fairly highly among series aired by ABC in regards to its television season ratings, and it ranks among the top 10 shows in the United States in terms of its estimated total audience size.

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