Kenya Barris, creator of ABC hit comedy Black-ish, is departing ABC Studios in August. The split comes three years before Barris’ contract expires, according to the New York Times, which cited creative differences as the reason.
Barris, who also created Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish on ABC sibling Freeform, is expected to shift to Netflix.
Barris said ABC Studios “supported me every step of the way.”
“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,” he added.
The Times noted that ABC had passed over pilot programs created by Barris, and pulled an episode looking at race relations. Titled “Please, Baby, Please,” that episode saw father Dre tell his infant son a bedtime story that touched on the right of athletes to kneel during the national anthem.
Slated to air Feb. 27, it was replaced by a rerun. “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed to not air it,” said Barris in a statement at the time.
The Barris comedy Besties will air on Freeform.
Netflix grabbed ABC hitmaker Shonda Rhimes, and also signed Ryan Murphy, whose shows are hits on Fox and FX. Murphy’s deal with Netflix kicked off July 1.
Jonathan Groff and Kenny Smith will run Black-ish, says the New York Times.
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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