ABC’s black-ish spin-off, aptly titled grown-ish is taking our breaths away with exclusive, never-before-seen photos released by Entertainment Weekly.
The new show follows Dre and Rainbow Johnson’s (Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross) daughter Zoey, as she starts college at the fictional Southern California University. The series will focus on the socially conscious 17-year-old as she navigates the complexities she’s faced with during her first year at the university. Shahidi, who has deferred her Ivy league acceptance for one year to star in the show is getting a first look at college through her character, and she describes the experience as being “strange and fantastic”.
“Within five days of shooting, I had gone to three college parties, had ditched my friend, all sorts of stuff!” she remarks.
The series was originally titled college-ish and was intended to appear on ABC. However, the name change follows a shift to Freeform, a move the show’s creator describes as the “best thing” that could’ve happened to the show.
“Changing networks was probably one of the best things that could’ve happened to this show because the audience on Freeform is really [who] this is for,” says creator Kenya Barris. She continues, “The notion of continuing your investment in a character before and after you meet them is fascinating to me. I love those sorts of origin stories that increase mythology.”
The spinoff sees Zoey forming close relationships with her classmates in professor Charlie Telphy’s (black-ish’s Deon Cole) marketing class, which includes Zoey’s crush Aaron (Trevor Jackson), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), Zoey’s best friend Nomi (Emily Arlook), and Cuban Republican Ana (Francia Raisa).
“We have such an interesting group of characters that don’t seem to feel like they would ever know each other if it wasn’t for this class,” says Shahidi. “It kind of goes back to the coming-of-age tale of how much of our experience is shared.”
Zoey’s character will still be appearing on ABC’s Black-ish, although not as regularly.
The show premieres on Freeform on January 3rd at 8 PM.