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When Kenya Barris came on The Business in 2009, he had just finished writing for the CW show The Game. At that point, he didn’t know exactly what he was going to do next, but now, several years and many scripts later, he’s got a show of his own -- Black-ish on ABC. He tells how he incorporates stories from his own family’s life into the show, including one recent episode that discussed how to talk to your children about police brutality and the violence they see on TV news.

Photo: Executive Producer Kenya Barris on the set of Black-ish (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

Hollywood News Banter 7 MIN, 17 SEC

TV Guide magazine chief content officer Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to talk about three lawsuits related to celebrity and privacy in the news right now. 

  • Reporter Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million by a jury after a stalker took videos of her in a hotel room and posted them online. Andrews used to work for ESPN, and during the course of the trial Andrews told the court ESPN had wanted her to go public and say the videos were not a publicity stunt. Andrews now works for Fox Sports.
  • Hulk Hogan is suing Gawker for $100 million for invasion of privacy after the website posted a video of a sex tape of Hogan. He is claiming that while Hulk Hogan is his public persona, in private he is Terry Bollea, and that is the person who made the tape. There’s been much debate over the newsworthiness of the video and how much money Gawker made from the extra traffic to the site as a result of the sex tape.
  • In a strange, lurid lawsuit, the Palm Beach neighbor of the very private Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is accusing Perlmutter and his wife of having started a hate mail campaign against him in their neighborhood. In the letters, Perlmutter has allegedly called Harold Peerenboom a sexual predator. He has never been accused of anything of the sort by anyone else. Now, as part of the lawsuit, Peerenboom has been demanding access to certain Disney and Marvel emails, something they’re not particularly excited to share.

Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

Black-ish 20 MIN, 3 SEC

Kenya Barris created the ABC sitcom Black-ish, which follows Andre and Rainbow Johnson, a well-to-do black couple trying to raise four kids in a predominately white Southern California neighborhood, while still holding onto their cultural identity. Anthony Anderson plays Andre Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross plays Dr. Rainbow Johnson, Bo for short.

In its second season, Black-ish has taken on some serious topics, including gun control and the issue of who, if anyone, is allowed to say the n-word.

Perhaps none was as well received by critics as a recent episode on the issue of police brutality against black Americans -- and the struggle of how to explain to children the violence and injustice that they're seeing on TV news.

The entire episode takes place in the Johnson's living room, with the family gathered around the television. Three generations wait to hear whether a police officer who grievously injured a black teen will be prosecuted.

Filming the Black-ish episode "Hope"
Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin,
Anthony Anderson, Jenifer Lewis, Yara Shahidi
Photo: ABC/Patrick Wymore

Barris tells us why writing this recent episode felt "incredibly scary." Now that it's aired, he's gotten nothing but supportive and positive feedback from the network.

We reached Barris on the set of Black-ish, as he took a break from directing an episode for the first time.

Kenya Barris, veteran television writer (@funnyblackdude)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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