Black-ish Creator Kenya Barris Is Looking To Leave ABC For Netflix

When ABC put the kibosh on a Black-ish episode surrounding the Colin Kaepernick‘s NFL protests, it created a riff in what was a prosperous and groundbreaking relationship between the major TV network, the show and African-American storyteller Kenya Barris, who is considered one of the best film and TV comedy writers in the game.  

It also uncovered some creative differences in the direction of the show, which often dealt with issues pertaining to the Black community and its unique and extensive culture. 

Now reports are surfacing that Netflix is pursuing Barris to be the next prolific producer to move from the broadcast studio system to the burgeoning video company with 117 million subscribers. 

Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the Black-ish creator and Girls Trip writer is actively trying to ditch his overall deal with ABC Studios, his creative home since 2015. 

Hollywood Reporter on Twitter

Exclusive: #Blackish Creator Kenya Barris Plots Exit From ABC Studios Pact After Clashes

Barris, who earned a Peabody and two best comedy Emmy nominations for his ABC show, has three years remaining on the lucrative four-year deal he signed in 2017. 

Sources now say Barris is primed to join Shonda Rhimes (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) and Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Crime Story) at the streaming service. Rhimes and Murphy each inked nine-figure mega-deals with Netflix. 

“Talks are very real,” says a source of Barris’ potential move to the streaming giant. 

ABC Studios and Netflix declined to comment.

Since first signing with the Disney-owned studio in 2015, Barris has become its top comedy writer-producer with several TV projects in the mix. It would be a major loss for ABC. 

Karen Attiah on Twitter

ABC Studios let Rhimes out of her deal in order to sign with Netflix as she had a year remaining with the company. If Barris were to follow suit, ABC Studios would have lost its top comedy and drama producers.” via @thr

The move is also a no brainer as Barris already has business with Netflix for a feature film reboot of the classic Shaft, with New Line producing the script written by Barris and starring Samuel L. Jackson

Barris is also attached to rewrite a script for a sequel to Eddie Murphy’s
Coming to America. Both of those projects follow the breakout success of Girls Trip, which has grossed more than $140 million worldwide on a budget of $19 million. 

With this potential move, Barris will surely be free to tackle any issue he chooses without the interference of an oppressive or restrictive executive body trying to control or censure his ideas.   

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