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Netflix teams with Black-ish creator Barris

Global streamer Netflix has signed a multimillion-dollar, multi-year production deal with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.

Kenya Barris

Barris will write, develop, exec produce and produce new series for the SVoD service through his shingle Khalabo Ink Society.

Barris was rumoured to be heading to Netflix after he abruptly announced his departure from ABC Studios at the end of July. His deal at the network still had around three years to run.

He is the second major exit from ABC to the streamer, after Shonda Rhimes moved there almost exactly a year ago.

Netflix has since swept up Glee creator Ryan Murphy for US$300m. At a reputed US$100m, Barris’s deal is slightly more modest but no less significant.

At ABC, Barris won acclaim with his award-winning autobiographical freeform comedy series Black-ish. The series, which focuses on the prosperous Johnson family, was renewed for a fifth season by the network in May. The show’s success led to spin-off Grown-ish, from Barris. He was also the man behind the feature Girls Trip.

In a statement, Netflix said Barris had “continually demonstrated his ability to tell stories about the Black experience that resonate with all audiences.”

“Kenya uses his voice to make audiences more aware of the world around them, while simultaneously making them laugh,” added Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of original content added. “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.”

Barris admitted that when he heard news of the offer he “didn’t know what to think.” He also alluded to Netflix’s status as chief disruptor in the TV industry, adding that he was taking “a leap of faith, a chance with the new kids on the block.”

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