‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Officially Leaves ABC

It looks like all the rumors were true. ‘Black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris is officially leaving ABC Studios.

According to sources, Kenya is looking at a nine-figure overall deal with Netflix.

via THR:

“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. 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,” Barris said in a statement Friday. “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.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9325642b)
Karey Burke and Kenya Barris
Freeform Summit, Panel, Los Angeles, USA – 18 Jan 2018

Barris’ likely move to Netflix comes as the prolific showrunner, as exclusively reported by THR, had been actively trying to get out of his overall deal with ABC Studios, his creative home since 2015. Barris, who earned a Peabody and two best comedy Emmy nominations for his ABC comedy Black-ish, had three years remaining on the lucrative four-year deal he signed in 2017. Sources say other studios, including Warner Bros. Television, courted Barris with nine-figure offers as well. Barris, like Shonda Rhimes when she departed ABC Studios, will remain an executive producer on all of his shows. Kenny Smith has been promoted to co-showrunner alongside Jonathan Groff on Black-ish. Julie Bean continues to serve as showrunner on the Freeform spinoff Grown-ish. Groff, Smith and Bean all have overall deals with ABC Studios. The news comes months after Freeform handed out a straight-to-series order for Barris comedy Besties, which will remain on track.

Barris is a logical fit for Netflix, which is seeking what chief content officer Ted Sarandos has called a “rare class of creator” who can deliver hits that are both critically and commercially successful. Barris has proved the ability to deliver that on both the film and TV side. Also of interest to the streaming service, which is looking to satisfy its 117 million subscribers: prolific producers of content. Again, Barris delivered, overseeing a show and a spinoff (Freeform’s Grown-ish) while also developing aggressively on TV and in film.The Netflix deal follows a series of tough breaks at ABC. In March, for instance, it yanked a politically themed episode of Black-ish following creative differences between the network and Barris. At the time, ABC called the decision to scrap it a mutual one between the network and Barris, though sources say otherwise. The episode was poised to feature star Anthony Anderson’s Dre relaying his concerns about the current state of the country to his son. “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris said at the time. “Black-ish is a show that has spoken to all different types of people and brought them closer as a community and I’m so proud of the series.”

First Shonda, now Kenya — ABC Studios out here losing!

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Yara Shahidi’s ‘Black-ish’ Spinoff Gets A Name Change

Freeform changed the name of Yara Shahidi’s ‘black-ish’ spinoff series from ‘college-ish’ to the what i think is much better ‘grown-ish.’

via Deadline:

Saturday Night Live alum Chris Parnell, Emily Arlook (The Good Place), and Trevor Jackson (American Crime) have been tapped as series regulars on the comedy, joining previously cast Shahidi and Deon Cole. Parnell and Jackson will reprise the roles they originated in the planted spinoff episode of black-ish, while Arlook plays the role originally played in the black-ish episode by Mallory Sparks.

The series, from ABC Signature Studios, will start production next month and is set to premiere early 2018 on Freeform and the Freeform App .grown-ish follows the Johnson’s eldest daughter Zoey (Shahidi) as she heads off to college and quickly discovers that not everything goes her way once she leaves the nest. Deon Cole plays Charlie, Dre’s eccentric and unpredictable co-worker at Stevens & Lido. Arlook plays Miriam, a freshman know-it-all at Southern California University with a no holds barred attitude. Parnell plays the dean of Southern California University. Jackson will portray a socially-conscious sophomore at Southern California University.

“grown-ish reflects what we’ll be dealing with in the show – that in between place where you’re not quite an adult but facing grown world problems for the first time,” said creator and executive producer Kenya Barris. “Where black-ish examines what it means to be black, grown-ish is an examination of what it is and what it means to be grown.”

Barris, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and Brian Dobbins are executive producers of the series. grown-ish is one of two upcoming single-camera comedy series on Freeform, along with Alone Together.

After watching the backdoor pilot during this last season of ‘black-ish,’ I can’t WAIT to see more!