Kenya Barris, the man behind the hit ABC sitcom Black-ish has officially left ABC Studios, and the network’s decision to ban an episode centered around the NFL’s protests against police brutality could be at the root of it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
THIS, is not a shock. ABC stifled Kenya Barris creativity by refusing to air the Kneeling episode. Oh well, onward BROTHER https://t.co/34svh7PI6R
— Moji Oderinde (@mojipov) July 29, 2018
“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 in a statement on Friday. “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,” he added.
The Hollywood Reporter says Barris is considering a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix. A deal with the streaming giant could make Barris the latest star producer to leave a broadcast network studio, following fellow ABC alum Shonda Rhimes.
The network’s decision to pull the NFL episode, which was titled “Bedtime Stories” caused controversy earlier this year and apparently still bothered Barris. ABC president Channing Dungey, who famously brought Roseanne Barr back to ABC before firing her earlier this year, said that it was a “mutual decision” at the time to shelve the episode which angered thousands of the show’s fans.
“With this particular episode, there were a number of different elements to the episode that we had a hard time coming to terms on,” Dungey told The Hollywood Reporter in May. “Much has been made about the kneeling part of it, which was not even really the issue, but I don’t want to get into that. At the end of the day, this was a mutual decision between Kenya and the network to not put the episode out.”