Titled All American: Homecoming, the new series follows tennis star Simone Hicks (Geffri Maya) as she pursues her athletic career at a historically Black college. She’s joined by Damon Sims (Peyton Alex Smith), a talented baseball player who’s also navigating “the highs, lows and sexiness of unsupervised early adulthood,” according to the show’s logline.
The character of Simone made her debut during season 2 of All American as a young woman who dated Jordan (Michael Evans Behling). After having a baby and giving it up for adoption, she decided to go to college and give her tennis dreams another shot.
In July 2021, the CW aired a backdoor pilot for Homecoming as part of All American’s regular season. During the episode, Simone visited the fictional Bringston University in Atlanta and realized she wanted to apply. Damon, meanwhile, decided he didn’t want to enter the MLB draft and would instead to commit to playing baseball for Bringston.
After the CW picked up Homecoming for a full series order in May 2021, Warner Bros. TV chairman Channing Dungey said that the new series would be “even more exciting” than the original. “Geffri Maya, who plays Simone, is fantastic, definitely holding the center of a love triangle-to-be in this new series,” she told Deadline at the time. “And it is also fun — the world of the HBCUs has not been seen on American television this way.”
Showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll, who also supervises the original All American, has said that one of the things she’s most excited to explore in the new show is the world of HBCUs, or historically Black colleges and universities.
“This is my way of hoping I can introduce the HBCU experience and widen the horizon for our youth as a whole,” she told Entertainment Weekly in July 2021. “I’m completely surrounded by people who went to HBCUs, and [they have this] sense of finding themselves and finding a place where they felt permission to be whatever version of Black they were and really explore what that means.”
Though Bringston is fictional, Carroll was inspired by real schools including Clark Atlanta University, Maya’s alma mater. “These kids, especially kids that look like me, deserve to be inspired, celebrated and motivated,” the Snowfall star told EW. “And to be part of something so monumental matters to me.”
Keep scrolling for more details about All American: Homecoming before it premieres: