'Black-ish' creator opens up about an 'anti-Trump' episode shelved by ABC that was reportedly one reason he left for Netflix
- "Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris left ABC in August for a reported $100 million deal with Netflix.
- A big reason for his departure was that ABC shelved a "Black-ish" episode that its execs deemed too critical of President Trump, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- Barris reportedly had "a flurry of back-and-forths with executives as high up as CEO Bob Iger" over the "political sensitives" of the episode (which he wrote), before ABC decided to shelve it.
Kenya Barris, the creator of the ABC sitcom "Black-ish," left ABC in August for a reported $100 million deal with Netflix.A big reason for his leaving ABC, according to a new profile of Barris in The Hollywood Reporter, was that the network "mysteriously and indefinitely shelved" an episode of "Black-ish" that ABC executives deemed too critical of President Trump.
Barris wrote the episode in question, titled "Please, Baby, Please," and ABC shelved it days before its planned premiere on February 27. The episode reportedly included news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks, and NFL national anthem protests, and also featured animation and a voiceover segment from filmmaker Spike Lee.
The "Black-ish" creator reportedly had "a flurry of back-and-forths with executives as high up as CEO Bob Iger" over the "political sensitives" of the episode, which ABC and Disney executives feared would alienate viewers, two sources told THR:
"Executives at ABC, more than any other network, have been forthright about their desire for more red-state programming since Trump's win - and with Barris' latest episode, they feared they'd be alienating the very population they'd tried so hard to court. That Disney brass wouldn't want to poke Trump himself just as the company was seeking Justice Department approval of its acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is widely believed to have been a factor as well."
Barris said that ABC had him rework and cut some of the episode's "anti-Trump material," but the result wasn't fit to air. "What it ended up being, and I think the network would agree, was not a true representation of what we intended to do. Because if it was, we would've shown it," Barris told THR.
Barris left ABC in August to sign a multi-year production deal with Netflix that was reportedly worth around $100 million. The deal puts him in the same salary realm as producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, two showrunners who previously signed eight-figure deals with the streaming service.Read THR's feature here.