ABC Boss Says 'Blackish' Episode Wasn't Pulled Over Football Protest Story

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey addressed the Black-ish episode shelved earlier this season, saying it had nothing to do with the football players kneeling.

Black-ish has tackled some topical subjects under executive producer Kenya Barris. Many fans were hurt when they learned than an episode that reportedly discussed the National Anthem protests of NFL players like Colin Kaepernick had been sidelined. It was especially troubling that the same network which aired Roseanne would be so hesitant to face this issue head-on. However, Dungey said that's not why the episode was put aside.

"As you know, we have long been supportive of Kenya and team tackling challenging and controversial issues in the show," Dungey told reporters on Tuesday, according to a report by Variety.

"We have always traditionally been able to come to a place creatively where we felt good about the story he was telling, even if we felt like it was pushing some hot buttons and he felt he was sharing the story the way it should be shared. I think with this particular episode, there were a number of elements to the episode that we had a hard time coming to terms on. Much has been made of the sort of kneeling part of it, which was not even really the issue," she added.

"At the end of the day, this was a mutual decision made between Kenya and the network to not push the episode out, and I think we all feel like that was the best decision overall," Dungey continued.

The episode was pulled in February, and fans still haven't forgotten. ABC reportedly still has no plans to air the episode, stream it online or make it available on any platform.

Barris has made no secret about his disappointment in ABC. He is rumored to have met with representatives of Netflix, hoping to exit his overall deal with ABC Studios and sign a new contract on the streaming service.

Dungey minimized this possibility on Tuesday, pointing out that Barris' contract does not expire for two more years.

"Conversations with Kenya have been incredibly collaborative, and he and I have been in conversations recently about some potential new business," Dungey said. "We love working with Kenya and are happy to continue doing so."

Regarding Barris' overall deal, Dungey said, "He is under contract currently with ABC Studios."


Dungey also waved aside a joke on Roseanne which was perceived as a sleight against Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat, calling it a hat-tip from one writing staff to two others.