‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Inks Overall Deal With ABC Studios
On the heels of the breakout success of ABC’s freshman comedy Black-ish, the series’ creator Kenya Barris has signed a three-year overall deal with Black-ish producer ABC Studios. Under the pact, Barris will continue as executive producer/co-showrunner on the family comedy in addition to developing new television projects for network, cable, and streaming services.
“We’re excited about being in business with Kenya for many years to come,” said ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee. “His unique and hilarious point of view fits perfectly into the studio and network brand of smart, heartfelt storytelling.”
Black-ish became the first new ABC comedy to successfully launch behind the network’s flagship Modern Comedy. The newbie finished the 2014-15 season as the highest rated first-year comedy series in adults 18-49, averaging a 2.9 rating.
“I’m psyched to be able to call ABC Studios, the place that made my dreams (and my show) come true, my home for the next few years, and hopefully many more,” said Barris. “I can’t wait for Paul Lee to bring me my diamond-encrusted ABC medallion’d gold chain so I can proudly wear it to the Emmys…or one the 17 Straight out of Compton screenings I plan on attending.”
Kenya Barris created Black-ish loosely based on his personal experiences. The series stars Anthony Anderson as an upper-middle-class black man who struggles to raise his children with some sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father, and his own assimilated, color-blind kids. This year, Black-ish swept all TV comedy categories at the NAACP Image Awards, winning Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Anderson), Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Tracee Ellis Ross), Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy (Laurence Fishburne), and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Yara Shahidi). Additionally, Anderson received an Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
“Kenya brought us a breakout hit last fall in Black-ish, a show that drew raves from critics and viewers alike,” said ABC Studios topper Patrick Moran. “We’re excited that he’ll continue to be at the helm of that show, and about the projects he’ll be developing for us in the future.”
Barris, who previously co-developed America’s Next Top Model and served as co-executive producer on The Game, is repped by CAA, Principato Young, and attorney Gregg Gellman.