‘Black-ish’ prequel in early development at ABC

ABC is in early development on a prequel to “Black-ish” that would focus on Tracee Ellis Ross’ character Rainbow, sources tell Variety.

ABC would not confirm the prequel beyond saying that a Rainbow-centric episode of the critically-acclaimed comedy will film in March with an airdate to be determined later.

The episode would potentially serve as a backdoor pilot for the prequel, which would be the second spinoff of “Black-ish” to date. “Grown-ish,” which was just renewed for a third season at Freeform features Johnson daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi) in college and ranks at the top comedy among women 18-49 and females 12-34.

Ellis Ross has received three consecutive Emmy nominations for best actress in a comedy for her role in “Black-ish.” She won the Golden Globe for her role in the show in 2017.

“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris recently departed his overall deal at ABC Studios for a new pact at Netflix. Barris’ relationship with ABC began to show signs of strain last March when Variety reported that the network had indefinitely shelved an episode of “Black-ish” that he wrote and directed, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” which touched on current events, including controversy over athletes kneeling during performances of the national anthem. Barris told Variety at the time, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it.”

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Tracee Ellis Ross out and about
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Tracee Ellis Ross out and about
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Tracee Ellis Ross seen out and about in Manhattan on June 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Tracee Ellis Ross is seen in Manhattan on June 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 04: Fashion designer Wes Gordon and actress Tracee Ellis Ross are seen arriving to the 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards at Brooklyn Museum on June 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Tracee Ellis Ross and Donald Glover attend the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/MG18/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)
Former US first lady Michelle Obama (L) and actress/activist Tracee Ellis Ross attend the United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on May 5, 2018. (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Actor Sarah Paulson, Actor Claire Danes, and Actor Tracee Ellis Ross attend the Prada Resort 2019 fashion show on May 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Getty Images)
BLACK-ISH - The cast and executive producers of ABC's critically-acclaimed hit comedy 'black-ish' attended the ABC Studios 'For Your Consideration' event at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA on Saturday, April 28, 2018. (Aaron Poole via Getty Images) TRACEE ELLIS ROSS
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: Tracee Ellis Ross is seen in the Upper West Side on May 3, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
BLACK-ISH - 'Dream Home' - Dre and Bow are living separate lives and switching off with the kids. They start to realize how much they relied on each other and how hard it is being on their own. Dre gets his sleek, ultra-modern dream house in the canyon with all the amenities, and Bow doesn't think it's suitable for the kids, on the season finale of 'black-ish,' TUESDAY, MAY 15 (9:00-9:30 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Ron Tom/ABC via Getty Images) TRACEE ELLIS ROSS
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