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Sophomore year: ABC’s ‘Abbott Elementary’ returns tonight

Fresh off of its Emmy wins for show creator, writer and co-star Quinta Brunson and Sheryl Lee Ralph, Abbott Elementary returns for its sophomore season Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. 

Tyler James Williams, who plays newbie teacher Gregory Eddie, tells ABC Audio that watching the show take off has been a trip. 

“Third episode aired…third or fourth. It had trended on Twitter from the week prior directly into the next episode for a full week later. And that’s when I understood it was like, ‘I think we have something big here, you guys,"” he said. “[W]hen people talked about it for a week straight, that’s when you know.” 

Janelle James, who plays sarcastic principal Ava Coleman opines, “[I]t feels so good. Like, the most feedback that I get from people is that this is their, like, feel good show and they watch it with their families.”

She says, “I really think that’s amazing to me and it’s just good in a time where, you know, a lot of things are happening, to be part of something that makes people feel good and is happy.”

Ironically, considering her Emmy win, Ralph once thought her kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard wouldn’t be a stand-out character. “[H]onest to God, I didn’t think that anybody was going to see my performance. I thought that I was just going to be there,” she said. “And I had no idea that people would react to Mrs. Howard the way they have.”

She wanted to play the principal, but Brunson talked her out of it. “[S]he said, ‘Oh, Ms. Ralph, no, we need a queen for Mrs. Howard, and you are that queen,"” Ralph recalled. “So I was like, ‘Okay, thank you very much. I’ll be the Queen."”

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