There are signs that Kenya Barris is ready to walk away from ABC for a deal with Netflix.
It’s possible that ABC could lose another hit-making Black creator.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, several sources are claiming that Kenya is looking to back out of the four-year deal he signed with ABC in 2017.
And that’s not all the insiders have to say. Kenya could follow Shonda Rhimes‘ example because he’s supposedly considering signing a deal with Netflix. “Talks are very real,” one tipster told THR”
Neither ABC nor Netflix are commenting on the rumors at this time, and attempts to reach Kenya’s reps have gone unanswered.
However, Netflix is making an aggressive push to secure more creative talent as Disney prepares its own streaming service, effectively withdrawing most if not all of its content from Netflix in order to bolster its own offerings. That includes any Star Wars and Marvel properties. It’s unclear whether content from ABC and its offshoot networks would also be taken over to Disney’s platform.
Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has said that the service is looking for a “rare class of creator” that can deliver compelling content that is commercially and critically successful. If Kenya’s Peabody Award and Emmy nominations are any indications, he’s more than up to the task.
Let’s not forget that ABC and Kenya have clashed this year as the network pulled a Black-ish episode that centered on the #TakeAKnee movement. Black-ish has never shied away from politics and race relations, but the network came down hard on that episode. It is unclear whether viewers will ever get a chance to see it.
“Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Kenya said after announcing that the controversial episode would not air. “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.”
ABC hasn’t renewed Black-ish for a fifth season yet, but Freeform (ABC’s cable network) did renew its spin-off, Grown-ish. As such, it’s expected that Black-ish will be picked up for another season.