×

‘Black-ish’ Showrunner Shakeup: Courtney Lilly to Run Season 6

Longtime “Black-ish” writer Courtney Lilly has been upped to the role of showrunner for the ABC comedy’s upcoming sixth season.

The move marks the second leadership change at the series since original creator-showrunner Kenya Barris stepped away from ABC for a highly lucrative Netflix deal in 2018.

Lilly replaces Kenny Smith who was brought in to co-showrun season 5 alongside Jonathan Groff. Sources tell Variety that Smith and Groff are stepping aside to focus on development, and will stay on the show as consulting producers. Smith signed a three-year overall deal with ABC soon after being named showrunner in 2018 and will continue to develop projects with ABC Studios. 

Lilly, who has been a writer on the hit comedy series since season one, had previously served as a co-executive producer on NBC’s multi-camera comedy “Undateable” and as a co-producer on on Fox animated comedy  “The Cleveland Show.” He also was a writer on the CW’s “Everybody Hates Chris” and Fox’s “Arrested Development.” He is represented by UTA and The Shuman Company.

In November 2018, Variety reported exclusively that Lilly was teaming up with Kevin Hart to develop another single-cam comedy at ABC in the form of “Don’t Call It a Comeback.” That prospective series is described as family comedy about a 40-year old divorced dad who had one hit with a PM Dawn-type hip-hop group back in the ’90s and uses his attempt at a comeback to get his swagger back in parenting, relationships and life.

News of Lilly’s appointment comes at a time of expansion for the “Black-ish” universe. Spinoff series “Grown-ish” is entering its third season on Freeform, and a prequel series “Mixed-ish,” narrated by Tracee Ellis Ross, is set to premiere on the Disney-owned network in the fall.

“Black-ish” was recently nominated for two Emmy Awards, one for lead actor in a comedy series for Anthony Anderson, and another for outstanding contemporary costumes for costume designer Michelle R. Cole.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Hailee SteinfeldTribeca TV Festival 2019 Presents

    Hailee Steinfeld Announces New Single Tied to Apple TV Plus' 'Dickinson'

    Actress, singer and producer Hailee Steinfeld is set to release a new single entitled “Afterlife” on Sept. 19, a track she created for her upcoming Apple TV Plus series,”Dickinson.” “This is a song I’m incredibly proud of, and I feel like after embodying this character, I have a more fearless approach to my writing,” Steinfeld [...]

  • Rachel Bloom

    Rachel Bloom Announces Pregnancy After Emmy Win

    “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom made a special announcement after winning her Emmy for best original music and lyrics — she is pregnant. Bloom announced the news backstage on Saturday at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. She joked she had planned to reveal the news on Instagram but that doing it at the Emmys was even [...]

  • EVIL is a psychological mystery that

    TV Review: 'Evil'

    In its pilot installment, CBS’s new drama “Evil” delves into that which may lie beyond the rationally explicable. And the show itself represents something almost supernatural by 2019 standards, too: A well-made hour fueled by chemistry between its leads and a strong idea of itself. On the basis of its debut outing, which screened at [...]

  • Emmy Awards Placeholder

    Creative Arts Emmys: 'Free Solo,' 'Queer Eye' Among Big Winners on Night 1 (Full List)

    “Free Solo,” “Queer Eye,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Saturday Night Live” were among the big winners Saturday after the first night of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. “Free Solo,” the National Geographic feature documentary that already claimed the Oscar earlier this year, lead the field on the [...]

  • Gary Cole, Christina Anthony, Tika Sumpter,

    'Mixed-ish' Team on Why 'All Stories About "Others" Are Necessary'

    The producers and cast of “Mixed-ish” are not out to tell a singular black and white story — but one that showcases and celebrates all shades in between. “It’s important for me across the board in all of my work to talk about ‘otherness’ and identity and real, grounded characters,” showrunner Karin Gist told Variety [...]

  • Shane Gillis

    Comedians Condemn Shane Gillis Over Slurs

    “Saturday Night Live” showrunner Lorne Michaels has yet to comment on the racist and homophobic remarks made by newly hired cast member Shane Gillis, but comedians and actors are expressing their condemnation on social media, some even asking that he be fired from the show.  Footage of Gillis’s podcast, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content