Kenya BarrisLatest News and Opinion
Posted Tuesday 11/13/18 at 10:47PM EST
Black-ish had access to nearly all of Prince's song catalog for its tribute to the music icon
The late singer's estate was very agreeable with this week's Prince tribute episode, especially since creator Kenya Barris and one of the music supervisors already had a connection. Plus, Yara Shahidi's dad was once Prince's photographer. Did the show have to pay a lot of money to use Prince's songs? "I don’t know how the numbers worked, but I don’t think we had to pay extra for this song or that song," says showrunner Kenny Smith. "Like, 'Purple Rain' didn’t cost more than 'Sexy MF.' I just knew we got the budget and it was impossible, so we had to cut another six songs out of it to make the budget."
Posted Tuesday 11/13/18 at 10:03AM EST
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris isn't sure he'd want to invite Kanye West on as a guest-star anymore
“I still love him, but it’s … different,” says Barris, who used to consider West as his ideal guest-star. But West's involvement with President Trump has made him hesitant. Still, Barris would love to have Samuel L. Jackson and Garrett Morris as guest-stars on Black-ish. Jackson, who has been frequently mistaken for Laurence Fishburne, would play the brother of Fishburne's character Pops.
Posted Wednesday 9/12/18 at 1:11PM EDT
Kenya Barris recalls the weeks-long battle with ABC and Disney over his shelved Black-ish episode
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Feb. 27 "Please, Baby, Please" episode was supposed to be special, shot with a bigger budget, featuring Spike Lee narration and expensive music. It would focus on Dre and his interpretation of real-world events presented to his son as a form of catharsis. But the network felt the episode was too political, too anti-Trump for a broadcast network. "I know there was some concern about partisanship," says Barris, "and the way the episode was angled and the balance in terms of some of the stories. On network TV, one of the things I've learned is that you have to talk about things from both sides." Barris tried to edit the episode to meet the demands of ABC and Disney executives. "What it ended up being, and I think the network would agree, was not a true representation of what we intended to do," he says. "Because if it was, we would've shown it." Ultimately, Barris and the executives mutually agreed to scrap the episode, which led to Barris seeking a way out of his ABC Studios contract. "He'd given his blood, sweat and tears to (the episode), which they had signed off on every step of the way — from the outline, to the script, to the table read, to the point where they actually spent the money and made the episode," says Anthony Anderson, who also serves as executive producer. "And I don't know what those conversations were, but we entered into this partnership with the understanding that we would be able to tell the stories that we wanted to tell."
Posted Friday 8/24/18 at 10:43PM EDT
ABC's plans for Bewitched is proof why reboots are a good idea
The classic 1960s sitcom is archaic by today's standards, but the reboot is using its dated premise and rebooting it to make it relevant in a modern context. As Brett White explains, the reboot is "actually worth getting excited about, really excited about, especially if you grew up enjoying the original series. I’d even say that this new take from Black-ish creator and mega-producer Kenya Barris and Black-ish writer/co-producer Yamara Taylor proves how necessary revisiting these old ideas can be. Yeah, all we know about the reboot is the quick series pitch included in the initial reports, but that brief summary proves that Barris and Taylor are actually taking an old idea, confronting the problem at the core of it’s mid-century premise, and spinning it for the 21st century. That is what all reboots should do, and very few actually do!"
Posted Thursday 8/23/18 at 3:23PM EDT
ABC developing an interracial Bewitched reboot from Kenya Barris
Bewitched is the third beloved witch-based TV show this year to get a reboot, following Charmed and Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. Before he exited ABC Studios for Netflix, Black-ish creator Barris sold ABC Studios on a single-camera interracial blended family comedy based on the classic 1960s sitcom, reports Deadline. ABC has ordered a pilot for the reboot that hails from Barris and his fellow Black-ish writer/producer Yamara Taylor. According to Deadline, on Barris and Taylor's version of Bewitched, "a Black hardworking, single mom, who happens to be a witch, marries Darren, a White mortal who happens to be a bit of a slacker. They struggle to navigate their differences as she discovers that even when a Black girl is literally magic, she’s still not as powerful as a decently tall White man with a full head of hair in America."
Posted Thursday 8/16/18 at 10:40PM EDT
Report: ABC shelved Black-ish episode over comments about President Trump, not NFL players kneeling
Source: The Daily Beast
According to a Variety report, the February episode that may have pushed Kenya Barris to exit his ABC Studios deal for Netflix prompted concerns from ABC executives over the characters talking about Trump.
Posted Thursday 8/16/18 at 4:38PM EDT
It's official: Black-ish creator Kenya Barris joins Netflix in deal worth "roughly $100 million"
Barris' three-year deal puts him "in the same ballpark" as new Netflix mega-deal showrunners Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes. According to Variety, "the basics of his new Netflix agreement had also been in place for some time." Barris was let out of his ABC Studios deal last month, five months after ABC pulled an episode of Black-ish that reportedly dealt with athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.
Posted Tuesday 8/07/18 at 10:55PM EDT
ABC's Channing Dungey on Roseanne Barr's firing over racist tweet: "In some ways, this was a last straw"
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
More than two months after canceling Roseanne and essentially firing Barr, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey says she wouldn't have done anything differently. She also says her decision "wasn't that difficult." Dungey also noted that she had been asked about Barr's Twitter account a year ago. "It's not a secret that she has had a tendency in the past to be sort of outspoken and go off-book," said Dungey. "We've had multiple conversations about wanting to keep the focus on the show and not to let some of the other stuff eclipse the show. So, in some ways, this was a last straw. But it was also such an egregious tweet that it felt like no matter what, there would have been some action that we would have taken." She adds: "I think the swift, decisive action really spoke volumes and I think we're proud of what we did."
- "The Conners’ have started to take a cue from Marvel and Shondaland in terms of holding everything close," says Dungey on the spinoff's secrecy
- Dungey has seen three outlines for The Conners: "What I can tell you us that thematically we will be focusing on a lot of the same themes that we were in the first nine episodes"
- Dungey on Black-ish creator Kenya Barris' exit: He was "frustrated" by the limitations of broadcast TV
- Dungey talks life without Shonda Rhimes, says ABC might add another Marvel show
- Dungey on American Idol Season 2: "We’re hoping this year to do even more of the live shows"
Posted Saturday 7/28/18 at 12:28AM EDT
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris officially exits his ABC Studios deal, likely for a nine-figure Netflix mega-deal
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
It's been nearly four months since The Hollywood Reporter reported on a frustrated Barris planning his exit from ABC Studios one year into his new four-year deal. The two sides have negotiated Barris' exit, paving the way for a lucrative deal with Netflix (which has no comment on a potential deal with the prolific writer-producer). Barris has developed multiple TV projects for ABC, but only one was picked up: Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish, which ended up at Freeform instead of ABC. Barris has also clashed with the ABC network, which pulled an episode of Black-ish in February. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barris is seen as a "logical fit" for Netflix because he can deliver hits that are both critically and commercially successful. "No matter what, the studio has never wavered in their support of my creative vision," said Barris in a statement. "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.”
Posted Thursday 6/07/18 at 5:41PM EDT
Tracee Ellis Ross says ABC's yanking of a Black-ish episode was "frightening"
Source: New York Daily News
The actress says she never got an answer for why ABC shelved the February episode, which tackled the National Anthem Protests. "The details of why the episode was pulled and everything that has surrounded that, I do not have the answers for,” Ross said in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable. “To a certain extent, I have purposefully stayed out of those conversations because I’ve had no power to do something beyond that." Noting that the Black-ish cast is usually involved in the show's content, she added: "I have asked for the information and pushed for the information that I felt would be helpful to me and constructive in what I can do with it, because I find it frightening." Black-ish creator Kenya Barris addressed the pulled episode last month, telling Vulture: "We just had a difference of opinion... I feel like it was something for us that we felt like we couldn’t come to an agreement and mutually decided just to sort of move past it." ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey also said last month that the kneeling "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.”
Posted Wednesday 6/06/18 at 6:44PM EDT
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris was ready to go "crazy" in protest after Roseanne Barr's racist tweet
Barris, who in recent months has reportedly expressed frustration with ABC in wake of the pulling of a February Black-ish episode, said today he was ready to mount a PR blitz last Tuesday when he found out about the Roseanne tweet comparing Valerie Jarrett to Plant of the Apes. “I was literally coming out of the show and I was like f*ck this. I was going to go crazy. I was going to call my agent and go on (CNN’s) Don Lemon and other shows,” he said today at Variety's Path to Parity summit. But Barris said he first spoke to ABC executives, including ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. “I was like, ‘I’m sorry guys’ and then I have to say, the response came in minutes," he said, adding that they told him a cancelation was impending. Barris said Roseanne's tweet was “an indefensible moment but at the same time, you hired a monster and then you asked why the monster was killing villagers."
Posted Monday 6/04/18 at 2:49PM EDT
Kenya Barris settles Black-ish dispute with his former writing partner
Writer and director Bryan Barber had sued for $1 million saying he shared a role in the creation of his former writing partner's hit ABC sitcom. The case has been resolved one week before it was headed to trial.
Posted Tuesday 5/29/18 at 1:56PM EDT
ABC cancels Roseanne after Roseanne Barr's racist tweet
"Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement following the furor over Barr comparing former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape in a tweet this morning. Barr apologized soon after and vowed to quit Twitter. This is the first time ABC has taken action in response to Barr's controversial tweets. ABC's cancelation came less than two hours after consulting producer Wanda Sykes quit the show. This isn't the first time Barr has compared a black Obama administration official to an ape. In 2013, she tweeted that Susan Rice "is a man with big swinging ape balls." A half hour before ABC announced its cancelation, Sara Gilbert reacted to her TV mom's racist tweet: "Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least. This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love— one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member."
- Disney CEO Bob Iger praised the cancelation: "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing"
- Emma Kenney was planning to quit the show after Roseanne's tweet: "I am hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed. The racist and distasteful comments from Roseanne are inexcusable... As I called my manager to quit working on Roseanne, I found out the show got cancelled. I feel so empowered by @iamwandasykes , Channing Dungey and those at ABC standing up against abuse of power and lack of values. Bullies do not win. Ever."
- Shonda Rhimes tweeted praise for ABC's decision: "Thank you, Channing...The terrible part is all of the talented innocent people who worked on that show now suffer because of this. #notjustice...But honestly she got what she deserved. As I tell my 4 year old, one makes a choice with one’s actions. Roseanne made a choice. A racist one. ABC made a choice. A human one."
- Showrunner Bruce Helford responds to cancelation: "On behalf of all the writers and producers, we worked incredibly hard to create an amazing show. I was personally horrified and saddened by the comments and in no way do they reflect the values of the people who worked so hard to make this the iconic show that it is."
- Roseanne Barr dropped by her agency: "We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning"
- Black-ish creator Kenya Barris says "Bye-bye!!!" on Instagram
- Rita Moreno calls Roseanne "a sorry excuse for a human being...Your meanness is staggering and will earn you a ticket to a sad, lonely and sorry life"
- Valerie Jarett was already scheduled to appear on MSNBC tonight as part of a "Everyday Racism in America" special
# TOPICS: Roseanne, ABC, Bob Iger, Bruce Helford, Channing Dungey, Emma Kenney, Kenya Barris, Rita Moreno, Roseanne Barr, Sara Gilbert, Shonda Rhimes, Valerie Jarrett, Wanda Sykes, Cancellations, Renewals & Pickups
Posted Tuesday 5/15/18 at 10:53PM EDT
Kenya Barris says "we've moved past" the pulled Black-ish episode, but ABC wouldn't let him comment on the Roseanne joke
"We’ve moved past it," the Black-ish creator says of the “Please, Baby, Please” episode that he agreed with ABC to yank that would've tackled political and societal isues, including NFL players kneeling. "We just had a difference of opinion. I don’t think it’s the first time an episode hasn’t aired. It probably won’t be the last. And I feel like it was something for us that we felt like we couldn’t come to an agreement and mutually decided just to move past it.” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey addressed the pulled episode earlier today, saying: "Much has been made of the kneeling part of it, which was not even really the issue." Meanwhile, when Vulture asked Barris about the Roseanne joke that seemed to slam Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat, "an ABC representative interrupted and didn’t allow him to answer."
Posted Tuesday 5/15/18 at 1:10PM EDT
ABC boss addresses rumored tension with Black-ish creator, says kneeling athletes was "not really the issue" in yanked episode
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said there were "a number of different elements that we had a hard time coming to terms on" in the network's decision not to air a February episode of Black-ish. As for rumored tension that has reportedly led Black-ish creator Kenya Barris to seek an early exit from ABC deal and move to Netflix, she said: "He’s under contract with ABC Studios. Further specifics are not under my purview."