PHILADELPHIA, PA – Major changes are in store for the hit show “Abbott Elementary” as the third season premieres. The lead character, Janine Teagues, played by series creator and Emmy Award-winning actress Quinta Brunson, finds herself outside of the classroom and inside the school district at the start of the ABC sitcom’s third season.
The one-hour season three premiere, which aired at 9 p.m. E.T. on Wednesday, sees familiar faces returning and introduces new guest stars, as Janine is enticed to participate in a fellowship program by members from the school district. This change places her in a whole new world of bureaucracy, raising questions about her future at Abbott Elementary.
Co-showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker talk about the show’s success, the decision to do a longer premiere episode, and the challenges of storytelling in the third season. They emphasize the significance of the show’s majority Black cast and how it has proven to be a four-quadrant hit, debunking industry fallacies about such shows not having as much value to networks and studios.
The episode features a cameo by Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, adding a fun and exciting element to the premiere. Halpern and Schumacker also discuss the process of vetting guest stars and the thought put into ensuring that the show remains true to its documentary-like portrayal of a Philadelphia school.
The third season delves into the inner workings of the school district, shedding light on the challenges faced by young progressive individuals seeking to make bureaucratic systems better. This shift presents an opportunity to explore the characters’ arcs and relationships, adding depth and complexity to the storyline.
“Abbott Elementary” continues to challenge industry norms and expectations, demonstrating that a show with a majority Black cast can indeed be a commercial success. The show has not only been embraced by audiences but also by industry executives, serving as a testament to its value and potential.
The third season of “Abbott Elementary” airs new episodes Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC and streams the next day on Hulu.