To Close for Comfort: The CW’s All American Won’t Address COVID-19 in Its Upcoming Season

All American Cast (L-R): Monet Mazur, Karimah Westbrook, Bre-Z, Samantha Logan, Michael Evans Behling, Taye Diggs, Cody Christian, Greta Onieogou, and Daniel Ezra
All American Cast (L-R): Monet Mazur, Karimah Westbrook, Bre-Z, Samantha Logan, Michael Evans Behling, Taye Diggs, Cody Christian, Greta Onieogou, and Daniel Ezra
Screenshot: Courtesy of The CW

Though fans of the hit football drama All American will have to wait until mid-January for its return, they can rest assured that they’ll be spared a pandemic-themed season of television.

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In a Variety exclusive, showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll admitted that while the episodes themselves won’t directly deal with COVID-19, the reality of the virus played a defining role in how the season was shot. “The biggest thing is we are a young adult show that loves to throw parties—homecoming, everybody’s birthday,” Okoro Carroll tells Variety. “And now it’s just like, ‘Uh uh, what three people are getting together to have coffee and a chat? We started writing the season end of February—I rolled directly from Season 2 into Season 3. So by the time the pandemic hit and it was like it was here to hang out for a while, we went back and did our COVID pass on [scripts] and flagged scenes with too many extras in it.”

She continued, “Football’s full contact; socially distanced football works for drills at practice but not for games and it’s their senior year so it just felt crazy [not to have football] if we weren’t addressing COVID on the show. Effectively what we created was a football bubble, modeled after what the NBA did.”

Despite the unconventionality, Okoro Carroll remains confident in not only the outcome of this new season, but the innovation that will come because of it. “The kind of collaborations and thinking outside of the box that we’re seeing, the way everyone is working together to make it all happen, this whole idea of working on a production where the No. 1 goal is looking out for each other has been amazing.”

Season Three of All American will premiere January 18, only on The CW.

DISCUSSION

Bre-Z will always be Freda Gatz to me.