Kenya Barris might be the latest creative to exit network TV in favor of streaming. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Black-ish creator and Girls Trip writer is working on getting out of his deal with ABC Studios, where he’s worked since 2015. Barris has three years remaining on the four-year deal he signed in 2017 but seems to be itching to leave early. THR also reports that he is preliminary talks with Netflix, where he would join Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.
The news comes a month after ABC shelved a politically-themed episode of Black-ish following “creative differences” between ABC and Barris. In the episode, star Anthony Anderson’s Dre relayed his concerns about the current state of the country, including a scene in which he argues with his oldest son, Junior, about whether or not athletes should kneel during the anthem (a clear reference to the Colin Kaepernick controversy).
Between the success of Black-ish, it’s spin-off Grown-ish, and Girls Trip, Barris is an incredibly in-demand commodity, both as a writer and producer. It would be a big get for Netflix if this deal happens and a huge loss for ABC, losing its biggest comedy writer and producer just months after the departure of their biggest drama producer in Shonda Rhimes.