‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris To Exit ABC Studios. Is He Heading To Netflix?

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Written by Ann Brown

“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris is leaving ABC Studios.

After a creative falling out over an episode of “Black-ish” in March, comes word the show’s creator and producer will be leaving ABC Studios even though his current deal with the network does not expire until 2021. Barris, who is also the producer and showrunner of “Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish,” at Freeform, will exit the studio in August.

“Barris’ relationship with ABC began to show signs of strain in March when Variety reported that the network had indefinitely shelved an episode of ‘Black-ish’ that he wrote and directed, ‘Please, Baby, Please,’ which touched on current events, including controversy over athletes kneeling during performances of the national anthem,” Variety reported.

After the episode was scrapped, Barris said: “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it.”

But now it seems Barris wants out of ABC.

“I’m very grateful to Patrick Moran and his team at ABC Studios, who have supported me every step of the way as I created the worlds of ‘black-ish,’ ‘grown-ish,’ and now ‘Besties,’” Barris said in a statement. “It has been an incredible ride including a Peabody and Golden Globe win, Emmy nominations, and many other accolades. But most importantly, they’ve allowed me to realize my dream of creating my own shows and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done together. No matter what, the studio has never wavered in their support of my creative vision. Leaving is bittersweet, but between my series on the air and projects currently in development, I know I’ll continue to work with ABC Studios for a long time.”

“Black-ish,” starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, has been a highly successful and praised show since it premiered on September 24, 2014.

Because of his current contract, Barris would not be able to move to Netflix or any other studio home without negotiating. But if he does go to Netflix , he will join a growing number of big-name creatives and others making deals with Netflix, from Shonda Rhimes to Michelle and Barack Obama.

“Barris’ move to Netflix isn’t official yet, but reports say the streaming service has offered him a nine-figure deal to jump ship,” TV Line reported.

Whatever happen Barris will still have ties to ABC. “Barris also has the recently-ordered Freeform comedy “Besties” at the studio, though a spokesperson for the studio said that Barris will remain an executive producer on all of his shows,” Variety reported.

Netflix declined to comment.

Toure (L) and Kenya Barris are seen at “An Evening with Norman Lear”, presented by the Television Academy at the Montalban Theatre on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Hollywood. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images) IMAGE: ANITA SANIKOP

 

Ann Brown
Image Attribution: Toure (L) and Kenya Barris are seen at "An Evening with Norman Lear", presented by the Television Academy at the Montalban Theatre on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Hollywood. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images) IMAGE: ANITA SANIKOP