While speaking to Variety, executive producer Bruce Rasmussen opened up about the two shows, and how different they are in their approach to political topics.
"We are living in a time where people are very anxious and can't afford to go to the doctor and all that other stuff. So we're writing in the same way we wrote last year about the economic things," he explained. "If some of those feel political, they're political, but we're not doing any more of the Trump stuff. It's more about working-class people and how they live their lives. If that comes off as political in spots then that's how people will perceive it."
Rasmussen's fellow executive producer Dave Caplan then went on to reveal that a lot of their inspiration for the new storylines comes from "the newspaper."
"The past lives of the characters. We're really lucky to inherit characters that have long histories and as they continue to live their lives they face new challenges," he added. "In America 2018 there's no shortage of challenges, especially when you're living in a lower income bracket in America. It's tough and there are a lot of challenges and there are a ton of stories there for us tell."
"These actors are in tremendous demand and they didn't have to come back and do this. The fact that they wanted to and they knew they were going to be challenged by the scripts that we're writing and they knew they wanted the legacy of the show to be what it deserves to be," he continued. "It was a real blessing for us and I think it says a lot about what they think of the show."
"Very few shows have gone on after the lead character has left, so part of it was how do we make a show that works without that central character? It was a little surprising to me that it was as easy as it was to move forward without that character, but the other characters came to the fore more," Rasmussen then chimed in. "We're going to get more involved in the characters' personal lives this year. It really is where are they at in their lives now and what does that mean and what are they going to be dealing with?"