An episode of the critically acclaimed ABC show, Black-ish, has been shelved indefinitely by ABC following ‘creative differences’ with showrunner Kenya Barris.
The episode in question, “Please, Baby, Please,” was due to air on February 27. ABC pulled the episode on February 22, and stated in a scheduling announcement that a re-run would replace it. At that time, there were no details given for pulling the episode.
Friday, in a statement to Variety, an ABC spokesperson finally gave a reason for removing the episode from the schedule.
“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,” the spokesperson told Variety. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”
Barris also provided a statement, saying, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it. 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.”
What, specifically, in the episode caused the ‘creative differences’ is uncertain. “Please, Baby, Please,” was, as the series has come to be known for, heavily political. The episode was due to see patriarch Dre taking care of his young son, during an intense thunderstorm.
Unable to settle his son with a traditional bedtime story, Dre improvises, instead spinning a tale that incorporates some of Dre’s insecurities and fears over the current state of the country. In one scene, Dre and his oldest son, Junior, were set to argue over an footballer’s right to take a knee during the national anthem.
The show has previously tackled topics like Donald Trump’s election, the N-word, postpartum depression, and police brutality, so it is difficult to pin-point what might have triggered the reason to pull the episode.
For now, neither part is providing further context. There are also no plans to provide the episode through any other means of distribution.