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Kenya Barris Exits ABC Studios; Signs $100 Million Netflix Deal *Updated*

Kenya Barris Signs $100 Million Netflix Deal

Kenya Barris has officially signed a deal at Netflix to develop TV projects which reflect culture through an urban, youth and female-focused lens. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the deal spans three years (with the option for more per Deadline) and ranges in the "high-eight-figure range."


Hollywood, Calif. - August 16, 2018 -- Netflix welcomes Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated writer and producer Kenya Barris. Barris has entered into a multi-year overall deal to produce new series exclusively at Netflix, starting today, August 16. Under the deal, Barris will write and executive produce all projects through his production company, Khalabo Ink Society.

As the creator of the hit, Peabody award-winning comedy series black-ish, along with its successful spin-off series Grown-ish, and the writer of last summer’s comedy blockbuster Girls Trip, Barris has continually demonstrated his ability to tell stories about the Black experience that resonate with all audiences. With an innate sense for what is funny, truthful and timely, Barris will continue to create stories that reflect culture through an urban, youth and female focused lens.

“Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content at Netflix. “Kenya uses his voice to make audiences more aware of the world around them, while simultaneously making them laugh. His honesty, comedic brilliance and singular point of view, combined with the creative freedom he will enjoy at Netflix, promises to create powerful new stories for all our members around the world.”

“When my agents reached out to me about this little garage start-up called Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to think,” said Barris. “But after I talked to Ted and Cindy, I started to believe that maybe this mom-and-pop shop with only 130 million subscribers might just be something... so I decided to take a swing... a leap of faith if you will, and take a chance with the new kids on the block.”


The deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million, entering the nine-figure territory of Netflix’s mega five-year pacts with uber series creators/producers Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes.

Barris signed with Netflix after receiving multiple offers, including form Warner Bros. TV, who courted him with other rich deals. Sources say none compared to what Netflix could offer in terms of creative freedom (and not having to develop shows for broadcast).

Kenya Barris Exits ABC Studios; Eyes Netflix Deal

Kenya Barris (Black-ish, Girls Trip, Grown-ish) is officially leaving ABC and eyeing a move to Netflix, like Shonda Rhimes. Kenya had three years remaining at ABC studios but they managed to negotiate a deal for him to depart in August per The Hollywood Reporter. "Sources say he could become the next mega-producer to ink a nine-figure overall deal with Netflix."

Barris will remain an executive producer on black-ish (ABC), grown-ish (Freeform) and upcoming comedy, Besties (Freeform).

“I’m very grateful to Patrick Moran and his team at ABC Studios, who have supported me every step of the way as I created the worlds of Black-ish, Grown-ish and now Besties. It has been an incredible ride including a Peabody and Golden Globe win, Emmy nominations, and many other accolades. But most importantly, they’ve allowed me to realize my dream of creating my own shows and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done together," Barris said in a statement Friday.

"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.”

The reasons behind Barris’ exit from ABC Studios are complex. According to sources, there was a growing frustration with ABC, which did not pick up any of his pilots since black-ish and last year moved the praised comedy away from its cushy post-Modern Family slot. And then there was the controversial black-ish episode, which the network pulled from air at the last minute. It was that incident that reportedly set the wheels in motion for his departure at the studio. I hear he met with Netflix, which was interested in bringing him on board if available. Word is the fee the streaming giant was willing to pay was hard to match.

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