ABC’s award-winning sitcom Black-ish is slated to launch its spin-off, Grown-ish, in early 2018. Unlike the original program, which dominates a primetime slot on ABC, Grown-ish will live on ABC’s sister-channel Freeform, targeted primarily at a teen and tween demographic. Grown-ish features the oldest daughter from the original show, Zooey (played by Yara Shahidi), going off to college for the first time. Black-ish experimented with the format in a quasi-pilot episode called “Liberal Arts” that aired during season three with mixed success. A/V Club called this backdoor pilot “difficult to review,” as the story clumsily walked a narrow line between the two worlds of two different shows.
In the difficult-to-master spin-off world, heavy hitters like Better Call Saul–the smash prequel to also-lauded Breaking Bad–prove that expanding on the worlds and stories of favorite and familiar characters can be successful. But strikeouts like Joey and Private Practice are notorious symbols that audiences aren’t always ready to embrace a new show just because they recognize one of the characters. The key for Grown-ish may lie in capturing what their audiences love about the original show and expanding on it in a new environment, without neutralizing their notoriously sharp social commentary just because their audience is predominantly tweens and teens.