‘black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris explains his exit from ABC Studios
ABC(LOS ANGELES) — Kenya Barris is opening up about his decision to leave ABC Studios for Netflix, and what ultimately led him to make the move.
In a feature for The Hollywood Reporter, Barris reveals it wasn’t just his Trump-critical “politically and socially themed” black-ish episode that ABC shelved un-aired last spring, nor his issues with the network’s now defunct Roseanne reboot, that made him want to jump the network ship.
“It was an accumulation of realizations about the limitations of network TV and frustrations about his own inability to penetrate,” THR reports. “While he was being lavished with plaudits and honors — to say nothing of being invited to dole out keynotes and speak at college graduations — not a single one of Barris’ other projects moved forward at ABC.”
Barris potential projects for ABC that were passed on included his timely, interracial political family comedy starring Courtney B. Vance and Felicity Huffman, and his woman-centric CIA dramedy starring Toni Colette. He also reportedly wasn’t pleased the network moved his Yara Shahidi-led black-ish spinoff, grown-ish, to the less-viewed, younger-skewing Freeform channel, or that black-ish was moved out of its plum time slot following the long-running ABC hit sitcom, Modern Family.
“I’m aware when my things aren’t good. But I’d [gladly] have a forum and show these pilots to the world,” Barris said. “If I’m crazy, judge me. I’ve done things where I’m like, ‘Ugh, that wasn’t right,’ these were not that. And it just becomes so frustrating.”
Barris says he’s happy with his deal at Netflix, because he says it allows him to “take off all the straps and really hang out of the plane. I want to be Netflix with attitude — loud, bold and unapologetic.”
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