Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson are preparing themselves for the end of Black-ish.
ABC renewed the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated sitcom for an eighth and final season on May 14, an announcement that creator and executive producer Kenya Barris called “both exciting and bittersweet.” For Ross and Anderson, that sums it up perfectly.
“It’ll be hard,” Ross told ET at the Rose Bowl during their drive-in style screening and panel of Black-ish. “I will tell you what the most beautiful thing is. I don’t know about you, Anthony, but I’ve never had the opportunity to walk into a final season knowing it’s the final season. So, being able to take in all of the beauty of it and all of the things we’ve appreciated all of these years but then really be awake to it — I’m looking forward to that and I know it’s going to be hard.”
“We will be mourning,” Anderson added. “It’s gonna be hard everyday because we know it’s the end.”
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It’ll be hard saying goodbye to their onscreen children and their crew, whom Ross revealed was mostly the same since they began the series. “We’ve had a majority of the same crew, except for the people who have elevated up the chain,” she shared. “People who were PAs (personal assistants) are now writers.”
Anderson joked that the right time for the show to end would have been after season 10, “a nice round number” that would have given the cast enough time to squeeze in three contract negotiations, buy six more houses and possibly a plane. Ross said that although she doesn’t know when the right time would have been, she does believe in going with the flow. “Then you make it as beautiful as it can be,” she said, adding that she’s “so proud” of the work the cast and crew have accomplished.
As they reflected on the show’s progress over several years, the pair expressed their pride in Marsai Martin and Miles Brown, who play twins Diane and Jack, respectively. “I’m really proud of the work we’ve done and also who the children have turned into,” Ross said.
Both Martin and Brown have been nominated multiple times for their roles on Black-ish, with the former earning several NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited–series) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Anderson pointed out that Martin and Brown were 7-year-olds when they began working on the show. “To watch what they’ve blossomed into is just amazing and to get to be a part of that, you know, personally and professionally, for the last eight years, it’s been very special,” he added.
When it comes to how the series will officially end, Ross and Anderson played coy, but offered some ideas for fans to contemplate. Anderson suggested that Devante, the youngest Johnson, age from toddler to grown man over the span of a single episode, emerging as a 22-year-old. Ross admitted she would like to see Jenifer Lewis’ Ruby move out of the family home.
“I’ll be honest… I want this show to close out with all the love that we have all the time,” she added. “I originally was interested in this role because there was something so special about seeing a sitcom husband and wife that not only loved each other but liked each other. And that’s what it’s remained…I would love to see that love continue.”
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