‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Signs Multi-Year Podcast Deal With Audible
The deal will see the multi-hyphenate produce scripted fiction, unscripted nonfiction and doc series.
Kenya Barris is expanding the world of his Khalabo Ink Society into the fast-growing podcast universe through a global development deal with audio giant Audible.
The prolific TV and Film producer is behind such TV titles as ABC’s Black-ish and Mixed-ish, Freeform’s Grown-ish, #BlackAF on Netflix, and film titles Girl’s Trip, Coming 2 America, among others.
Barris, via his Khalabo Ink Society, will produce everything from scripted fiction and unscripted nonfiction to documentaries and talk series.
“Kenya is a world-class creator who has the deft ability to address complex issues with fearlessness, depth and levity,” said Zola Mashariki, head of Audible Studios. “His brilliant approach to storytelling will resonate widely, and we simply can’t wait to share it with our global audience.”
According to Barris, Khalabo is expected to release a minimum of four audio series a year for three years. To support this huge deal, he will launch an audio content division at Khalabo, led by Head of Audio Production Gila “WeezyWTF” Shlomi.
“Audio is a space that I’ve been eager to explore,” said Barris. “As a creator, the purpose of art has always been about starting conversations, and I cannot wait to share new stories and ideas through audio, where conversation is the art.”
Barris recently exited his multi-year deal with Netflix to be a part of building BET Studios, a partnership with BET and parent ViacomCBS that is far less restrictive when it comes to pursuing other business relationships. He has also recently negotiated deals for a music label with Interscope, a book deal with Random House and a first-look film deal with Paramount. He intends to have them all working in synergy.
“So if we sign an artist on the record label and she’s amazing, it’s, ‘Can we put her story into a podcast, keep the IP, and then go take that to Netflix and sell it as a doc?’” he explained as part of this week’s Hollywood Reporter cover story. “Or if we get a book from Random House that we love, ‘Can we turn it into a TV show or a movie, and then do a podcast to supplement it?’”
In the Hollywood Reporter interview, he revealed what may be the first project of the deal that may see him host or co-host. “I want us to do one called The Most Hated,” he said of one of his more recent brainstorms, which Barris would co-host with a friend, who, like him, is no stranger to backlash. “Each week, I want us to bring on [people like] Drake or LeBron James — people who are the most hated this week, and just hear their side, where they’re at, how it’s affecting them.”
At Audible, Barris will join a growing roster of name talent, including Steph Curry and his Unanimous Media, Kevin Hart and his HartBeat Productions and Charlamagne tha God and his GTHA World Productions.