NBC renewed two of its freshman comedies this week — Young Rock and Kenan. The two series center around Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and SNL star Kenan Thompson, respectively, and have done relatively well in their first year on the air. In statements published by Vulture, NBC executives sounded confident that the shows would only grow in popularity.
"It has been a true joy to watch Dwayne Johnson and Kenan Thompson on NBC every week and see families connect with their relatable, entertaining, and heartwarming stories," said NBCUniversal Television and Streaming's president of scripted programming Lisa Katz when the renewals were announced on Friday. "We're thrilled to renew both of these shows for another season and can't wait to see more from Dwayne, Kenan, and the incredibly talented casts and producing teams behind each of them." The timing of the renewals was perfect, as they came right between Kenan's season finale on Tuesday, April 27 and Young Rock's season finale on Friday, May 4.
Young Rock is a semi-autobiographical show based on the childhood and career of Johnson. It uses a split timeline much like This Is Us, with a full cast in 1982, another in 1987, a third in the 1990s and finally one in the future in 2030. In the last one, Johnson is a candidate in the 2032 presidential election.
So far, Young Rock has been relatively well-received and is particularly popular among wrestling fans. So far, the season has a decent score on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and MetaCritic, with praise for the entire ensemble cast and the fun conceptual leaps that the story takes.
Meanwhile, Kenan is a slightly more conventional sitcom starring Thompson as a character named Kenan Williams — a widowed single father who hosts a morning show in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to his two daughters — Aubrey (Dani Lane) and Birdie (Dannah Lane) — Williams lives with his father-in-law Rick (Don Johnson) and his brother, Gary — played by his SNL co-star Chris Redd. The ensemble seems to be growing as the show carries on.
Both shows have been renewed, but it's not clear if they will premiere in the fall 2021 lineup or not. Both had half-season orders in the spring of 2021, and the TV schedule across all networks is still catching up from the delays imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. One way or another, though, fans will see more of Young Rock and Kenan ahead.