‘Black-ish’ airing election-themed, partially animated special Oct. 4

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EXCLUSIVE: “Black-ish” is taking it to the ballot box in a partially animated and election-themed special to air early next month.

Directed by Oscar-winner Matthew A. Cherry, the back-to-back episodes will be broadcast on October 4 on ABC. The only caveat in that plan is if the Orlando bubbled NBA Finals are forced to shift their schedule, which would obviously have a significant ripple effect over the entire ABC programming chart.

However, “Election Special Pt. 1” and the animated “Election Special Pt. 2” are not the Season 7 premiere of the Kenya Barris created comedy.

Having been enshrined on Wednesdays in the Disney-owned net’s fall schedule back in late June, “black-ish”’s debut date will be revealed in the next week or so by ABC along with the official start of several other shows. If all things go to plan, that Season 7 opener of the Anthony Anderson-led and Tracee Ellis Ross-led series should likely come in late October, I hear.

With production just now gearing up on the series under coronavirus protocols, the animated special under the watch of the “Hair Love” director serves a dual purpose. It is clearly topical heading into the final month before a COVID-19 hobbled America decides if Joe Biden or Donald Trump will be sworn in as POTUS on January 20, 2021. The special also buys “black-ish” some additional time to be ready for a full season coming out of the prolonged production stoppage of the pandemic.

Written by Eric Horsted, the live-action ‘Election Special Pt. 1’ will see Marcus Scribner’s Junior pumped about finally being able to vote, only to find he has been dropped from the voters list – and discovering the realities of why that occurred. The animated ‘Election Special Pt. 2′ is penned by  Graham Towers & Ben Deeb. That 10:30 – 11 p.m. ET episode early next month sees the Peter Mackenzie-portrayed Stevens from Dre’s (Anderson) ad agency make a lunge for a Congressional seat. A lunge that takes Dre and his family down to the underbelly of modern-day politics.

Never one to shy away from political, racial and cultural realities, black-ish saw its censored “Please, Baby, Please” finally see the light of day on Hulu last month.

Set to air in early 2018, the very political 13th episode of the comedy’s fourth season was suddenly pulled from the schedule by the network. Later that spring, an ABC spokesperson said: “One of the things that has always made Black-ish so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates.” Dropping the hammer, the net went on to say: “However, on this episode, there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”

Now, with Disney’s purchase of most of Fox’s assets long in the rearview and America having a new national conversation about systematic racism and police violence, that situation was clearly resolved.

Up for multiple Emmy nominations this year, “black-ish” is executive produced by Barris, Anderson, Courtney Lilly, Laura Gutin Peterson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, E. Brian Dobbins and Michael Petok. The show is produced by ABC Signature. ABC Signature is a part of Disney Television Studios, alongside 20th Television and Touchstone Television.

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