Tag: ABC Studios

“Black-ish” and “Grown-ish” Producer Kenya Barris Signs $100 Million Netflix Deal

Kenya Barris (photo via deadline.com)

by Daniel Holloway via Variety.com

Kenya Barris has become the newest big-ticket addition to Netflix’s lineup of television producers.

The “Black-ish” creator has signed a three-year overall deal with the streaming service that will see him produce series exclusively for Netflix. According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the deal, which carries an option for an additional two years, is valued at roughly $100 million — putting Barris in the same ballpark as recent Netflix recruits Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

Barris’ departure from ABC Studios, where he was under an overall deal, became official last month. But according to insiders, his release from his ABC deal had been secured several months ago, and the basics of his new Netflix agreement had also been in place for some time.

Barris’ relationship with ABC began to show signs of strain in March when Variety reported that the network had indefinitely shelved an episode of “Black-ish” that he wrote and directed, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” which touched on current events, including controversy over athletes kneeling during performances of the national anthem. Barris told Variety at the time, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it.”

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Disney-owned ABC’s concerns were related to comments that characters made in the episode about President Donald Trump, not to the football storyline.

A month later, reports surfaced that Barris was being courted by Netflix for an overall deal. But his ability to pursue a Netflix deal was complicated by the renewal of his ABC agreement that he signed last year, and which ran through 2021. Barris had to secure an exit from ABC before moving to Netflix.

With his departure from ABC Studios last month, Barris stepped away from his post as co-showrunner of “Black-ish,” but will continue to serve as executive producer. Barris also has “Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish” at Disney cable channel Freeform, where he will continue to be an EP.

“Black-ish” has been a rarity among broadcast comedies in recent years — drawing solid ratings and robust critical praise, particularly for episodes addressing complex social issues. It also, when it premiered in 2014, was the first broadcast comedy in years to feature an African-American family. It has been nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards over its run, and this year received its third Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series. It received a Peabody Award in 2016, and a Golden Globe Award in 2017 for actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

“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.”

Barris added, “When my agents reached out to me about this little garage start-up called Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to think. 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.”

With his new agreement, Barris joins the ranks of television’s highest paid creators. In the last year, Netflix has signed Rhimes and Murphy to nine-figure deals as it continues to grow its original-programming volume in an increasingly robust challenge to the traditional pay-TV business. The streaming service last month revealed an initial programming slate from Rhimes that includes eight new series projects.

Read more: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/kenya-barris-100-million-netflix-deal-1202907726/

Larry Wilmore and Bassem Youssef to Develop Middle Eastern Superhero Comedy at ABC

Bassem Youssef and Larry Wilmore (photos via variety.com)

by Joe Otterson via variety.com

ABC is developing a comedy about a Middle Eastern family with superpowers from Larry Wilmore and Bassem Youssef. The untitled series centers on the Sharif family, an ordinary Middle Eastern American family with two superhero parents at a time when it’s illegal to be a superhero, so they are forced to save the world in secret. The show will highlight some of the issues that immigrant families face when it comes to fitting into a society that at many times treats you like the enemy.

Wilmore and Youssef will serve as writers and executive producers on the single camera series. ABC Studios will produce. “To have ABC challenge the narrative and stereotypes that have long stuck to people in my region is something spectacular to say the least,” said Youssef. “To have only terrorist roles available for us one day, then get to play superheroes the next, is ground breaking. I am grateful to work with, Larry Wilmore, one of the most talented writers and producers in the market. SCH is unprecedented, culture-defining, and entertaining for the whole family.”

The sale of the project marks Wilmore’s first solo project under his overall deal with ABC Studios. He also serves as an executive producer on “Insecure” and “Black-ish.” Youssef is a writer and comedian who has made numerous appearances on “The Daily Show” as a commentator and also appeared on Wilmore’s former Comedy Central series, “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.” 

“I’m beyond thrilled to have the chance to put a family like this on television,” Wilmore said. “Plus, I’ve always wanted to do a show about superheroes and to work with a real life superhero in Bassem is a double bonus.”

Source: ABC Developing Middle Eastern Superhero Comedy From Bassem Youssef, Larry Wilmore – Variety

Two-Time Emmy Winner Regina King Secures Production Development Deal With ABC

Regina King (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

Emmy-winning American Crime actor Regina King has signed a two-year deal with the studio behind the acclaimed John Ridley limited series, ABC Studios, for her production company Royal Ties. King’s sister, Reina King, will serve as development executive as the two develop and produce new projects.

King won two back-to-back best supporting actress in a limited series Emmy awards for the first two seasons of ABC’s American Crime. She is back for the franchise’s upcoming third installment, slated to air in midseason. Additionally, she recently signed on to star the upcoming Netflix crime drama series Seven Seconds, from The Killing creator Veena Sud and Fox 21 TV Studios.

In addition to acting, King has been producing as well as directing episodic television. She recently helmed episodes of ABC’s Scandal and The Catch, TNT’s Animal Kingdom, OWN’s Greenleaf and Fox’s Pitch.

Source: Regina King Secures Production Development Deal With ABC

Kenya Barris, Creator of “Black-ish”, Signs Overall Movie Deal With Fox

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14: Writer Kenya Barris poses for a portrait at the American Black Film Festival on June 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images Portrait)
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 14: Writer Kenya Barris poses for a portrait at the American Black Film Festival on June 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images Portrait)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Kenya Barris, creator of ABC’s “Black-ish” and co-writer of “Barbershop:  The Next Cut,” has signed an overall deal at Fox for the development of feature projects.

“We are thrilled to be in business with Kenya,” said Stacey Snider, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film. “He is a creator with an incredibly authentic voice — at a time when original storytellers are more valuable than ever.”

The film pact will be administered through Barris’ new production company, Khalabo Ink Society, aimed at telling compelling stories that pull back the curtain on the parts of our society that typically go unnoticed, and forging conversations that expose our own hypocrisies.  “As we expand our comedic franchise we at Khalabo Ink Society are overjoyed to have found a partner in Fox, that shares our same sentiment in storytelling,” Barris said.

Khalabo also has a number of feature projects in the works, including “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Stir Crazy,”  “Girls Trip,” “Ruff Ryderz,” and “Shaft.” Erynn Sampson is head of development for Khalabo Ink Society.

Barris currently has an overall deal with ABC Studios where he will continue to executive produce “Black-ish,” in addition to developing new series and projects for network, cable, and streaming, including “Unit Zero,” which he will executive produce along with Toni Collette, who will also star.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/blackish-kenya-barris-movie-deal-1201853782/

Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street Productions Developing Female LAPD Drama ‘Patrol’ at ABC

Kerry Washington (BROADIMAGE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via variety.com

ABC is developing a new drama with one of the networks most trusted stars, Kerry Washington. The “Scandal” star is on board to executive produce “Patrol,” a workplace drama about four female LAPD officers who attended the police academy together five years ago and are forced to reconnect after a high-stakes, traumatic secret returns to haunt them.

The project marks the first to fall under Washington’s new overall deal with ABC, which she inked this April to develop new projects for ABC Studios — the studio behind “Patrol.”

Washington is producing the potential series by way of her recently-launched production shingle Simpson Street. The actress has been expanding her behind-the-camera work lately. Simpson Street came fresh out of the gate with HBO’s “Confirmation,” in which Washington starred as Anita Hill, marking the company’s first project.

Chitra Elizabeth Sampath, who served as a writer/producer on the first season of ABC’s “Secrets and Lies,” wrote the “Patrol” script and will serve as a co-executive producer. Along with Washington, executive producers are Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams, plus Washington’s Simpson Street producing partner Sharla Sumpter Bridgett.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/patrol-kerry-washington-series-abc-1201848288/

ABC Renews ‘The Catch’ and Orders New Shondaland Series “Still Star-Crossed”

Still Star-Crossed
“Still Star-Crossed” (PHOTO COURTESY OF ABC)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

ABC is staying in business with Shonda Rhimes.  The mega-producer has landed yet another series at the network, with “Still Star-Crossed” being handed a series order for the 2016-2017 season.  Plus, Shondaland’s newest show, “The Catch,” has been renewed for Season 2.

“Still Star-Crossed” is a departure for Shondaland, as it marks the first period drama from a company that’s known for “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How To Get Away with Murder.”

Based on Melinda Taub’s book of the same name, “Still Star-Crossed” picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.

The cast includes Wade Briggs as Benvolio Montague, Anthony Head as Lord Silvestro Capulet, Zuleikha Robinson as Lady Guiliana Capulet, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline, Ebonee Noel as Livia, Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus, Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella, Grant Bowler as Damiano Montague, Susan Wooldrigde as Nurse, Torrance Coombs as Paris and Dan Hildebrand as Friar Lawrence.

“Scandal” and “Grey’s” alum Heather Mitchell is writer and executive producer. Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Michael Goldstein and pilot director Michael Offer are also executive producing the ABC Studios project.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-catch-renewed-season-2-abc-shondaland-1201773247/

John Ridley Series “American Crime” Renewed by ABC for Season 3

American Crime season 2 Andre Benjamin
Andre Benjamin and Emmy winner Regina King in “American Crime” (photo via Variety.com)

article by Daniel Holloway via Variety.com

ABC has renewed “American Crime” for a third season.The anthology drama from creator and executive producer John Ridley ended its second season March 9. The series’ first season was nominated for 10 Primetime Emmy awards last year and won one, with actress Regina King taking home the award for best supporting actress in a supporting role in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television.

Season three, like its two predecessors will focus on a new crime in a new setting.

American Crime” averaged a 1.6 rating in adults 18-49 and a little over 6 million viewers in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. While it was down from season one when it aired on Thursdays following “Scandal,” it was fairly competitive in its Wednesday timeslot.

Ridley, an Academy Award winner for best screenplay for the feature film “12 Years a Slave,” will again serve as executive producer with Michael J. McDonald. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

Viola Davis Inks Overall Development Deal With ABC Studios

Viola Davis ABC Studios deal
Viola Davis (ROB LATOUR/VARIETY/REX SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

On the heels of announcing its overall pact with “Scandal” lead Kerry Washington, ABC is similarly vying more hits from Viola Davis — this time, with the Emmy winner stepping behind the camera.  The “How To Get Away with Murder” star’s production company JuVee Productions has entered into an overall deal with ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios.

Under the new pact, JuVee Productions — which Davis founded with her husband, Julius Tennon — will develop new projects for broadcast, cable, streaming services and digital platforms.

Additionally, JuVee has also hired Bravo’s Andrew Wang to serve as the company’s head of television development and production. At Bravo, Wang was vice president of scripted television development and production and was responsible for the cabler’s first scripted series, comedy “Odd Mom Out,” drama “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” and the upcoming dark comedy “My So-Called Wife.” He was at Bravo for four years.

“We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multi-ethnic and multifaceted culture,” Davis commented. “We wanted to be a part of classic storytelling, and we didn’t want to wait.”

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/viola-davis-abc-studios-deal-juvee-productions-1201762447/

Kerry Washington Signs Overall Production Deal with ABC Studios

Kerry Washington (photo via atlantablackstar.com)
Kerry Washington (photo via atlantablackstar.com)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

ABC is building on their relationship with one of their biggest stars, as “Scandal’s” Kerry Washington has signed an overall deal with ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios. 

Under the new pact, Washington will be expanding her behind-the-camera work, developing broadcast, cable and digital projects exclusively for ABC Studios and ABC Signature, which specializes in cable and digital content.

Washington has entered into the deal by way of her recently launched production company Simpson Street. The shingle debuted its first project earlier this month with HBO’s film “Confirmation” in which Washington starred as Anita Hill. ABC Signature was also behind the TV movie, which received positive reviews.

As part of the deal, first reported by Deadline, Sharla Sumpton Bridgett (“Coach Carter”) has been brought on as a development executive and producing partner at Simpson Street.

Continue reading “Kerry Washington Signs Overall Production Deal with ABC Studios”

Idris Elba, John Ridley Limited Series “Guerrilla” Ordered at Showtime

John Ridley Idris Elba GUERRILLA Showtime
RIDLEY: RYDER SLOANE; ELBA: RAY BURMISTON (image via Variety.com)

article by Daniel Holloway via Variety.com

Showtime has ordered “Guerrilla,” a limited series from “American Crime” creator John Ridley, starring Idris Elba. The six-episode drama will be broadcast in the U.S. on Showtime and in the U.K. on Sky Atlantic.

Ridley will write the bulk of the episodes and direct the first two. A love story set in one of the most explosive political times in U.K. history, the miniseries tells the story of a 1970s London couple who liberates a political prisoner and forms a radical underground cell. The group targets the Black Power Desk, a true-life counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. Though set against a backdrop of social upheaval and activism, the story focuses on the relationship between the two characters at its center.

“Guerrilla” will be co-produced by Fifty Fathoms and ABC Signature, and will begin production in London late this summer.

“We’re excited to partner with our friends at Sky to bring a fascinating and unexplored story spearheaded by John and Idris, two major creative talents at the top of their game,” said Showtime president and CEO David Nevins. “Guerilla will surely keep our audience at their edge of their seats.”

Elba will serve as executive producer through his Green Door Pictures with Ridley. Patrick Spence and Katie Swinden of Fifty Fathoms, Tracy Underwood of ABC Signature and Michael McDonald of Stearns Castle will also exec produce.

Ridley extended his overall deal with ABC Studios in January for three years. His “American Crime,” which ended its second season last month on ABC, received 10 Primetime Emmy Award nominations last year for season one, with star Regina King winning for outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie. In 2014, Ridley won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.”

“I am both humbled by and impressed with Idris’s passion toward bringing this story to life,” said Ridley. “I share his commitment for populating the culture with driven and complicated people of color, and believe we have great partners on the producorial level, and with our broadcasters Sky Atlantic and Showtime.”

Elba is a four-time Emmy nominee whose TV credits include “The Wire” and “Luther.” He was nominated for a Golden Globe award for his work in last year’s Netflix feature film “Beasts of No Nation.” His upcoming films include “Star trek: Beyond” and “The Dark Tower.”

“It’s been a long time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr. Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and story-telling,” Elba said. “TV is in for a treat.”

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