The Johnson family on black-ish has seen a respectable number of high-profile celebs breeze through their spot over the years: Tyra Banks, Rashida Jones, Beau Bridges and even Chris Brown among them. None, though, is as big as the guest star black-ish almost got, a lady you may have heard of named Michelle Obama.
You read that right. "We thought we had a shot at getting Michelle Obama three years ago, right when she was heading out of office," black-ish executive producer Jonathan Groff told TV Guide recently at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
It makes sense. black-ish creator Kenya Barris has said the show was hugely influenced by the Obama presidency — their legacies live and breathe throughout the blood of the series, and they're integral to the emotional core of the 2016 episode "Hope" — and Michelle once called black-ish her favorite show. She'd have nailed it too; Barack's boo has shown she's super comfortable on camera, having been on screen lots of times. She's chopped it up with buddies Corden and Fallon just to name a few, and her appearance would've been in line with those, as opposed to a fictional turn. "She would have been probably playing herself," Groff said, "tying it into Dre's work — perhaps promoting her gardening initiative."
So what happened? Well, nothing, but it wasn't anyone's fault per se. The Obamas, as you might imagine, are busy people, and it eventually fell through the cracks. "It just didn't happen," Groff said. "It was a near miss."
Maybe both parties will make it happen one day — especially since Mrs. Obama and black-ish's Tracee Ellis Ross have a great rapport, as evidenced by this photo of them at the The United State Of Women Summit in Los Angeles earlier this year. And hey, those who absolutely can't wait to see Michelle Obama on TV just have to hold on a little longer: their production company, Higher Ground Productions, is hard at work making shows for Netflix.
black-ish returns for Season 5 Tuesday October 16 at 9/8c on ABC.