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Celebrity Cyber Report – Kenya Barris

Netflix has netted yet another major black television producer. Kenya Barris, creator of the ABC comedy Black-ish and the spin-off Grown-ish, has signed a multi-year deal with the streaming television service.

Barris will remain an executive producer on those shows while exclusively developing new series for Netflix. According to Techcrunch Barris’ deal only covers his television work because Barris, who co-wrote Girls Trip, has a first-look movie deal at Fox. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barris agreed to a three year deal with numbers in “high-eight-figure range.”

Barris joins Netflix after negotiating his way out of a contract with ABC Studios. Barris’ label, Khalabo Ink Society, will write and executive produce Netflix shows that “reflect culture through an urban- youth- and female-focused lens.”

Netflix Vice President of Originals, Cindy Holland said of Barris, “Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers. 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.”

Netflix is bringing onboard some of television’s  greatest black talent. Television producer Shonda Rhimes  joined Netflix last year. But Netflix is not alone. It seems that streaming television is the medium of choice for black talent as heavyweight producers like Jordan Peele and Barry Jenkins have joined Amazon and Oprah Winfrey has joined Apple streaming television efforts.

 

Shonda Rhimes Makes the Move to Netflix

Shonda Rhimes

 Netflix has added a powerful new weapon to its war on conventional television. Shonda Rhimes, producer of a string of hits on ABC is moving her production company Shondaland from ABC to Netflix. Rhimes has agreed to a multi-year deal to produce new series and other projects for the streaming service.

Rhimes has a string of mega-hits at ABC that include Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away With Murder.  Rhimes long-time producing partner Betsy Beers will be joining her at Netflix.

Through an existing relationship Netflix already streams Rhimes’ hit shows. The shows will continue on ABC as the new seasons begins.

Chief Content Officer at Netflix, Ted Sarandos called Rhimes “one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television. Her work is gripping, inventive, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, taboo-breaking television at its best.” Sarandos added that she is a “true Netflixer at heart.”

Rhimes said the move is part of a plan between herself and Sarandos. In a statement she said, “Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix. He understood what I was looking for, the opportunity to build a vibrant new storytelling home for writers with the unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach provided by Netflix’s singular sense of innovation.”

Expressing her gratitude to ABC for kicking off her career Rhimes said, “I continue to be grateful to work with so many talented people.” 

Netflix seems to be a new home for black artists and producers. A spokesperson stressed this point saying the streaming TV the company wants to be a home for black artists pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling.

Shonda is not the first black producer to join Netflix. Others include Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay,  Justin Simien, Dee Rees,  Yance Ford and “In Living Color” alum Marlon Wayans.

Attracting black producers is becoming a strength of Netflix’s effort to capture audience. The company claims to offer space for complete creative freedom. Netflix subscribers can see uncensored episodes of Spike Lee’s #BlackGirlMagic/#BlackBoyJoy on demand on any device with Netflix.

No financial terms or the partnership were released.