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Kenya Barris plans to turn #blackAF into a movie franchise, says "Netflix became CBS"

  • Netflix renewed #blackAF for Season 2 a year ago today, but the show appears to be canceled as a TV series. Barris tells The Hollywood Reporter he plans to forgo a second season to turn #blackAF into a movie franchise of standalone "#blackAF family vacation films in the vein of the National Lampoon vacation flicks that he and co-star Rashida Jones grew up loving," according to The Hollywood Reporter, which adds that Barris may expand the series with #blackAF: Brazil and #blackAF: Mexico international editions. Netflix has yet to confirm #blackAF's cancelation. In The Hollywood Reporter profile, Barris described his decision to abruptly leave Netflix for a ViacomCBS deal that will have him launching BET Studios. Barris admits his ideas didn't fit in at Netflix. (The Hollywood Reporter adds that those inside Netflix felt he was too focused on niche ideas.) “For Netflix, say we got 35 million viewers, they were like, ‘Well, it wasn’t Fuller House,'" says Barris, acknowledging that he often struggled to present the types of projects that excited Netflix executives. The Hollywood Reporter reports that at one point, Netflix executives asked Barris to produce one of their multicamera comedies, which sources say was the recently canceled Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! But he patently refused. “I just don’t know that my voice is Netflix’s voice,” says Barris “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.” He pauses, and then rephrases: “Netflix became CBS.”  Barris also responds to vocal critics of #blackAF, including Charlamagne tha God, who described it as like “white people doing a bad impression of Black people.” Barris says he's rather focus on cultivating “thought leaders” like Wes Anderson or Malcolm Gladwell, who’ve offered him praise. “Do I want Charlamagne to like my show? Yeah, I do, but I have to be honest with you, I care way less if Charlamagne likes my show than if Malcolm Gladwell does,” he says. “Because my taste is my talent — and Charlamagne has his lane, and it’s a very successful lane, it’s just not the lane I want.” Barris also addressed the recent controversy over ABC's planned Black-ish Latinx spinoff called Brown-ish that he's producing with Eva Longoria. “It was never going to be called Brown-ish, but even if it was, why is it that we turn on ourselves?” he says. “It immediately becomes, ‘Oh, he’s doing another family comedy.’ It’s like, yeah, I’m going to do 20 family comedies — no one questioned Norman Lear.”

    TOPICS: Kenya Barris, Netflix, #blackAF, Brown-ish, Cancelations, Renewals & Pickups, ViacomCBS