A topical episode of Black-ish has been shelved indefinitely after show creator and executive producer Kenya Barris and ABC couldn’t resolve “creative differences” apparently over the episode’s handling of various social issues.
The series, now in its fourth season, has earned a reputation for combining comedy with social commentary, routinely dealing with racism, and pointedly depicting divisions in Trump’s America, police brutality, even the N-word.
But “Please, Baby, Please,” originally set to air on Feb. 27 before being replaced by a rerun, apparently presented issues, or the handling of them, that created an impasse between Barris and the network.
“Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris said in a statement. “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.”
A previously released synopsis of “Please, Baby, Please” reads: “Dre is on baby duty for the night during a storm, and the household is wide awake. He decides to read a crying Devante a bedtime story, but when that doesn’t do the trick, Dre tosses it aside and begins to tell a story of his own about the current state of the country in a way Devante will understand, on a special episode…”
Written and directed by Barris (co-written with Peter Saji) the episode reportedly included a scene in which Dre (Anthony Anderson) and son Junior (Marcus Scribner) argue about football players’ police brutality protests during the national anthem.
“One of the things that has always made ‘black-ish’ so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates,” said an ABC spokesperson. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”
ABC has no plans to air the episode.
This story was first reported by Deadline’s sister publication Variety.