Creativity 50 2015

Creativity 50 2015: Kenya Barris


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Kenya Barris
Kenya Barris Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

Each week, "Black-ish" viewers get a peek inside the life of Kenya Barris. The creator and writer of ABC's breakout comedy pulls from his own experiences to tell the story of Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson), a black upper-middle-class ad exec struggling to maintain a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing their future.

The show became the first new ABC comedy to successfully follow network flagship "Modern Family," averaging 7.94 million viewers through the first 10 episodes of Season 1 and snagging an impressive 2.6 rating in the crucial 18-to-49 demo, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.

While it's not a show about advertising, the scenes that do take place in the ad agency are among the funniest -- if not the most flattering for adland. Moreover, by tackling controversial subjects such as spanking and the N-word, "Black-ish" is leaving a social mark on TV perhaps not seen since Norman Lear's "Good Times" and "The Jeffersons."

Though Season 2 numbers are down compared with last year's (averaging 6.02 million viewers and a 1.9 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo), "Black-ish" continues to win over critics. The New York Times hailed it as "one of the best shows of 2015." ABC seems happy too. This summer, the network signed Mr. Barris to a three-year TV development deal. We'd say life looks pretty good.

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