Kenya Barris Departs Netflix to Do ‘More Edgy’ Content with BET

*Kenya Barris has walked away from his $100 million production deal with Netflix because he says the streaming giant turned into CBS.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the producer behind ABC’s “Black-ish” and Freeform’s “Grown-ish” said Netflix didn’t appreciate his “edgy” voice.

“I think a lot of people thought I got fired or I quit, like ‘f— this,’ over some kind of beef with Netflix,” Barris said in his first interview since departing the streaming service. “I just don’t know that my voice is Netflix’s voice. The stuff I want to do is a little bit more edgy, a little more highbrow, a little more heady, and I think Netflix wants down the middle.”

“Netflix became CBS,” he continued.

Barris is now partnering with ViacomCBS and BET to launch BET Studios. 

“I want to do in-your-face sh–,” Barris told THR. “I want to sell to everybody – and if you don’t want to work with me, I’m not saying that you’re racist, but other people might.”

When Barris joined forces with Netflix he created the comedy Black AF, which he is planning to turn into a film franchise.

“I was f—king terrified,” Barris said of first joining the streamer. “[Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos] had come and saved me with a beyond-generous offer, and he let me act, and I’m not an actor, in a show that wasn’t their cup of tea. And they paid a ton of money for that show, they let me put on Deon Cole’s special and an experimental sketch comedy show [Astronomy Club], they gave me beautiful offices, and they never knocked on my door and asked what I was doing. I was like, ‘Is this the definition of ungrateful?’”

Meanwhile, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said “The good news for us is we’re still in business with Kenya on many fronts. We’ll be in business with him for a long time to come.”


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