After a few important excursions to Bone Town, PECSA, and the Franklin Institute, the students and teachers of Abbott Elementary are finally back in school for season 3. The acclaimed ABC sitcom is already hurtling toward its third chapter, first announced at the Television Critics Association gathering in January 2023, along with the promise of “many more magnificent episodes.”
But precisely what that means for Janine and Gregory’s will-they, won’t-they situation—not to mention season 2’s excellent crop of guest stars—remains to be seen. Here’s what we know as season 3 approaches.
When does season 3 of Abbott Elementary come out?
Season 3 of Abbott Elementary begins on Wednesday, February 7 at 9 P.M. EST on ABC—even better, it’ll land with an hour-long premiere episode.
What will season 3 be about?
Expect the usual focus on the inner workings of elementary school life—holiday parties, parent-teacher conferences, field trips, and broken coffee makers—but with a tinge of added tension, courtesy of Gregory and Janine’s out-in-the-open feelings. After admitting their affections in the season 2 finale, they agreed not to proceed with a relationship just yet. But, as series creator and actress Quinta Brunson told TV Line, there’s still much more to that story.
“Especially Jeanine, at the end of this kind of growth path we’ve had for her this season, I wanted her to be able to make a decision that she felt was best for herself after learning new information about herself,” she said. “It’s more about maturity. She’s maturing; he’s maturing. We wanted that mature path to continue for them both as individuals. I kind of want the characters to be able to grow a little bit more as individuals, so we can see where they land.”
Still, Brunson promised their budding relationship will not—nor will it ever be—the central mechanism of Abbott. The sitcom will always be about Abbott itself. “Our show isn’t about dating,” she said. “It’s about this school, it’s about the kids, etc. So Janine and Gregory are not the No. 1 storyline of Abbott. It’s the school and the kids. So it feels good to kind of have them be a mess in the background, because it’s very often how dating goes.”
In an interview with Decider in April 2023, co-showrunner Justin Halpern shared that the “idea” for season 3 is a particularly intriguing one. “The second season ended up talking about charter schools and the push and pull of those, and the first season was sort of about the challenges of being woefully underfunded,” he said. “And so I think we have an idea, we’ve talked with Quinta, and I think there’s a larger overarching idea that we’ve sort of landed on for season 3 that I think is really interesting and I’ve never seen it on TV before.”
How many episodes will there be in season 3?
Thanks to the show’s success, there’s no reason for ABC to cut back on episodes: The second season was bumped up to 22 episodes from the first’s 13, and season 3 will have a total of 14, per Deadline.
Who will be in the cast?
All the main ensemble members are expected to return, including Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walters, and William Stanford Davis.
Guest stars have yet to be announced, but there’s a strong chance the following characters will make another appearance: Ayo Edebiri’s Ayesha, Janine’s sister; Taraji P. Henson’s Venetta, Janine’s mother; Larry Owens’ Zach, Jacob’s boyfriend; and Lauren Weedman’s Kristin Marie, Melissa’s sister.
Is there a trailer?
Janine wouldn’t keep you waiting. Watch the teaser below.
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