ABC Shelves NFL Protest-Themed Episode Of ‘Black-ish’ Over Creative Differences

A episode of black-ish tackling the NFL protests placed a divide between the creator of the show and ABC, causing the episode to be barred from airing on television.

Creator Kenya Barris cited creative differences between himself and ABC for the rollout of the episode titled, “Please, Baby Please.” In the episode, Dre (Anthony Anderson) is attempting to put baby DeVonte to sleep with a bedtime story. When it fails, he decided to share his feelings on the NFL protests which turns into several debates with Junior (Marcus Scribner).

“Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris, the show’s creator, told Variety Friday (Mar. 9). “Black-ish is a show that has spoken to all different types of people and brought them closer as a community and I’m so proud of the series.”


The critically acclaimed show has successfully tackled tough issues in the past, including the negative narrative of Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump’s presidency and use of the N-word. The show echoes The Cosby Show, but only in its wide reach across demographics. Otherwise, it’s current and dishes out episodic content that’s clear enough for anyone to understand.

“One of the things that has always made ‘Black-ish’ so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates,” ABC’s spokesperson said. “However, on this episode, there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”

In the end, the Feb. 27 episode was replaced with a rerun. Other elements could’ve played a part in the shelved episode. USA Today’s For The Win noted the network’s parent company is Disney, which has a strong relationship to the NFL through their other network–ESPN.

“It makes sense that Disney, which owns both networks, would want to avoid a divisive conversation regarding a product it has poured a lot of money into over the years.” writer Steven Ruiz said.