Tuesday, October 4, 2022

‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Officially Leaves ABC Studios; Eyes Nine-Figure Mega-Deal at Netflix

Producer Kenya Barris attends HBO's Official Golden Globe Awards After Party at Circa 55 Restaurant on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Producer Kenya Barris attends HBO’s Official Golden Globe Awards After Party at Circa 55 Restaurant on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.

*It’s official. Kenya Barris, the creator of ABC’s “Black-ish” and writer of “Girls Trip,” is ending his longtime affiliation with ABC Studios and is reportedly set to close a nine-figure overall deal with Netflix, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As previously reported, Barris had become disgruntled at the broadcast affiliated studio, and industry sources predicted he’ll likely follow Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy in leaving their broadcast studios for the streaming giant.

Barris’ deal with ABC Studios will end in August as he and the studio have now negotiated his exit, THR reports. Netflix, meanwhile, would not comment on a potential deal with the writer-producer.

“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 Friday in a statement. “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.”

ABC Studios has been Barris’ creative home since 2015. The creative, who earned a Peabody and two best comedy Emmy nominations for “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.




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