Kenya Barris, New CBS Employee, Left Netflix Because ‘Netflix Became CBS’

Photo: Aaron Poole/Walt Disney Television via Getty

Earlier this year, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris walked away from the $100 million Netflix deal he had signed in 2018, which he made after ending his other production deal at ABC. In a new Hollywood Reporter interview, Barris explained why he left Netflix, and confirmed that he will be forming and heading the new BET Studios at ViacomCBS. Barris’s high-profile sitcom for Netflix that he starred in, BlackAF, received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, while Astronomy Club, which he executive produced, was canceled by Netflix after one season. “I just don’t know that my voice is Netflix’s voice,” Barris put it. “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,” adding, “Netflix became CBS.” Which is hilarious because, you know, he literally left Netflix to join ViacomCBS. Later in the piece, ViacomCBS exec David Nevins says that since taking on this new position, which will also include podcasting and book-publishing ventures, Barris has pitched a reality show for CBS. Those are some Mixed-ish messages.

Kenya Left Netflix Because It ‘Became CBS,’ Then Joined CBS