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‘Black-ish’ EPs On Season 4, Zoe’s Sendoff & Broadcast TV’s Resurgence

Deadline logo Deadline 7/13/2017 Amanda N'Duka
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SPOILER ALERT:This story contains details about Season 3 of ABC’s Black-ish.

Black-ish nabbed its second consecutive Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy series this morning and with another successful season in the books, creator/EP Kenya Barris and showrunner/EP Jonathan Groff are working to follow it up in Season 4.

“We are going to look at the immediate aftermath of having a baby and try to tell the real story about how having a baby is wonderful but it can take a real toll on women and looking at postpartum in a novel way,” teased Groff, following Season 3 which ended with a new addition to the Johnson family. “We’re trying to manage Zoe, who’s going to be with us, and setting up the show where she’s going off to college on Freeform in a way that makes sense for our show,” he says. “Our kids are a bit older so I think there’s a good story in Dre looking at Junior and realizing he has this young man now in his house and that relations. And the twins are changing and growing so that’s something we’re going to do a real story about.”

EP and star Anthony Anderson, who scored his third consecutive comedy actor nom for Black-ish today, wouldn’t divulge any details on the upcoming season but spoke to Deadline about where he would like to see the Johnson family.

“I’d like to see the family continue to evolve, especially my character,” he said. “He’s opinionated, but he has a great heart. You know where you stand with Andre … the journey is the remarkable and fun part. You never know where you’re going to end up, but it’s that jounney that defines you.”

Asked why Black-ish has sat well with viewers since its 2014 debut,” Anderson said: “Our show resonates with an audience the way that it does [because of] the authenticity in which we approach these characters and these stories,” he opined. He said that it steers clear of “sensationalizing subject matter [but rather stays] organic to these characters and the universal themes which we talk about — love, life, happiness, politics, religion, all the things that we all go through as humans. … Real recognizes real.”

The 2017 Emmy nominations saw a bit of an uptick for broadcast networks, particularly in the drama categories, where they are typically left out.

“It has to change or it’s going to die,” said Barris on the evolving landscape of networks. “We have to bring people back, whether it is pre-vocative or provocative, in a way that makes them want to engage.”

Said Groff: “The networks have realized that in doing things the same old way, it worked for a while and people make great shows in those confines, but as the pie has gotten bigger, the pieces of the pie has gotten smaller. When people have the option of all these streaming and cable [platforms], network television still has its advantages in terms of access.” He noted that the network execs have gotten better at letting “the creators and the actors talk about stuff and be more specific”

The Emmys continue to underscore the growing diverse and thought-provoking slate in television, and along with that, an influx of film heavyweights taking a turn at the small screen.

“I think television is the most exciting medium right now”, opined Barris.” You’re seeing these huge filmmakers realizing that the small screen is not as small, in terms of how it’s received, than it once was.”

Added Goff: “There’s so much great content being made in television. I love features and I love when they’re great, but you can see there are so many voices [in television], five years ago that just wasn’t it.”

Anderson talked about what he thinks is the best part of working on the show. “I get to live my dream every day, and I get to share that dream and bring it to reality everyday with a remarkable cast and crew,” he said. A big reason he loves what he does can attributed to the children on Black-ish. “I got to hand-pick them almost six years ago, so I got to see them grow professionally and personally. It’s the moments that I get to spend with them every day and watching them grow as individuals.”

In addition to Outstanding Comedy Series, Black-ish also received a lead actress nom for Tracee Ellis Ross, lead actor for Anthony Anderson, and guest actress for Wanda Sykes.

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