NEW YORK -- "Abbott Elementary" takes a look at a dedicated group of teachers facing challenges at a fictional elementary school in Philadelphia. The sitcom has already been renewed for a second season, and it's easy to see why. The sitcom has given the ABC Network its highest ratings for a comedy since the end of "Modern Family.
"Abbott Elementary" proved to be the right show at the right time, right after a year of virtual learning left parents with new respect for the teachers who educate their kids. The creator of the show, Quinta Brunson, took the traditional advice to write what she knew, and the cast just clicked.
Their rapport between the performers was obvious at an event to celebrate the final episode of the season in LA. When you're lucky enough to have a hit, the smiles are bigger and the hugs, truly heartfelt. "Amazing," said Janelle James. "I have money for the first time in my life!" She 's been called the breakout star of this workplace comedy, which was created by the daughter of a teacher. Brunson conceived "Abbott Elementary" after a visit to her Mom's classroom. "Teachers are incredible people who do not get enough credit," she observed, "who actually do one of the hardest jobs of all time."
Fame came first to Quinta on Instagram in videos about a "girl who has never been on a nice date." The video was seen more than 1.3 million times. "Without the internet I would never have gotten to get to this point of creating," Brunson told Tamron Hall last year. "The internet testing with audiences seeing what hits. It really helped me."
Her new sitcom hit big: up to 9 million viewers watch each episode. "It's incredible, man to have something that touches people's hearts and like you know crosses all the barrier lines," says cast member Tyler James Williams. "People can just sit down and watch it and laugh and talk about it."
Lisa Ann Walter felt she was on a winning team while taping the very first show, even before ABC ordered a full season of shows. "We were like 'ya can't make up this kind of chemistry. We all felt it." "You have no idea how much we enjoy working with each other," added her co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Their real joy is obvious, and the comments those involved get from real teachers who watch the show are especially meaningful. Frequently they stop Quinta Brunson to express their satisfaction. "It never gets old and it never gets less humbling to hear them talk about being seen in this show." Brunson is a big believer in network TV telling "Deadline": "This is TV for someone who can't afford Netflix or HBO!
Don't miss the season finale of "Abbott Elementary" tonight on ABC at 9/8c.