(HOLLYWOOD) — Kenya Barris, creator, producer and showrunner of ABC’s Black-ish and Freeform’s Grown-ish, is leaving ABC Studios, Variety reports. His current deal wasn’t set to expire until 2021.
While Barris will remain an executive producer of his shows Black-ish will now have two new co-showrunners, both of whom have deals with ABC Studios.
Earlier this year, there were reports that Netflix was looking to hire Barris, but as Variety noted, he couldn’t move to the streaming service without negotiating some sort of exit from ABC.
Last year, Shonda Rhimes left ABC Studios for a nine-figure deal with Netflix.
Variety reports that in a statement, Barris said, “It has been an incredible ride including a Peabody and Golden Globe win, Emmy nominations, and many other accolades. But most importantly, [ABC Studios has] allowed me to realize my dream of creating my own shows and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done together.”
He added, “No matter what, the studio has never wavered in their support of my creative vision. 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.”
In March, Variety reported that ABC had shelved a Black-ish episode which Barris had written and directed, which dealt with current events such as athletes taking a knee during the anthem. At the time, Barris told Variety, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it.”
In June, Barris said that he was prepared to quit ABC after Roseanne Barr’s controversial tweet about former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett. But when ABC canceled Barr’s sitcom, he decided to stay.
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