Kenya Barris walked away from his huge deal with Netflix, and he took his second show
on the streaming platform, #blackAF, with him.
Back in October, news broke that Barris was looking for an exit from his $100 million
deal with Netflix, and now, a new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter confirms he
got out of the deal in January.
In the interview, he also spoke about his departure from the streaming giant, in detail,
for the first time. According to the publication, Barris’ “Netflix marriage had been
imperfect” because he “wasn’t willing to be the broadly commercial producer that the
streamer wanted him to be, and Netflix wasn’t interested in being the edgy home that
“I want to do in-your-face s**t,” Kenya told THR, going on to explain the content Netflix didn’t let him create. “For Netflix, say we got 35 million viewers, they were like, ‘Well, it wasn’t Fuller House,’” Barris explained, acknowledging that “he often struggled to present the types of projects that excited Netflix executives.”
“I just don’t know that my voice is Netflix’s voice,” he continued. “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.”
After it was clear this wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven, Barris said he was “f***ing
terrified” of telling Netflix he wanted out of his $100 million deal.
“[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,” Kenya said. “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?’”