Netflix Might Have Lured Kenya Barris from ABC

Kenya Barris
via Sarah E. Freeman / Grady College / CC-BY-2.0

The battle for TV’s heavy-hitters continues. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that writer/producer Kenya Barris may join the growing list of mega-producers to leave broadcast TV for streaming services.

Netflix is rumored to be taking the Black-ish show creator away from ABC, but tensions have been high for a while now and “creative differences” might be the scapegoat, if Barris does decide to say goodbye.

In February, those tensions bubbled to the surface after rumors spread that the network decided not to air a “political” episode with a Do The Right Thing-esque title “Please, Baby, Please.” The episode would feature Dre having a heart to heart with Junior about the future of blackness in America.

Although both Barris and ABC released statements assuring their mutual decision to not air the episode, this wouldn’t be the first time the network turned one of Barris’ projects down.

Only one year into an impressive four-year deal, Barris has created many projects for the Disney-owned network, but only few have come close to production. ABC’s sister company, Freeform, picked up a spinoff of Black-ish, tiled Grown-ish, which has received both critical and commercial success. But, Barris’ passion project, Unit Zero, a cop drama starring Toni Collette, received a pass from the network.

Barris wouldn’t be the first of ABC’s producers to leave for Netflix. Shonda Rhimes joined Netflix for a multi-year production deal where she would create new shows for the streaming service, while still being involved in her broadcast productions. FX recently lost Ryan Murphy to a $300 million deal with Netflix beginning in July.

Watch out broadcast, Netflix is coming for you.