ABC cancels ‘Black-ish’ episode dealing with kneeling during national anthem

ABC cancels 'Black-ish' episode dealing with kneeling during national anthem
The cast of the hit show “Black-ish,” sans Anthony Anderson. Photo: [email protected]

The award-winning and critically-acclaimed sitcom “Black-ish” is renowned for its deft ability to tackle controversial contemporary issues while inducing giggles, making it arguably the most bodacious show on network television that’s centered on race and society in this country.

It turns out that the network that airs the show, ABC, is not that bold, however.

An episode that was supposed to deal with players kneeling for the national anthem has been left on the cutting room floor by ABC honchos. It’s been speculated that the network fears Donald Trump’s tiny but tenacious Twitter fingers and a cultural backlash from mainstream America.

The network announced that a new episode scheduled for March 27 would be replaced with a rerun from earlier in the series. The original episode was never aired, and now never will be, according to a new report that says ABC and the show’s creator, Kenya Barris, had creative differences about the episode that failed to be reconciled within a workable time frame.

The episode was titled “Please, Baby, Please,” was shot in November, and directed by show-runner Barris. This was how the episode was going to play out, according to Variety: 

On the night of a big thunderstorm that keeps the whole family awake, Anthony Anderson’s Dre cares for their infant son Devante who refuses to stop crying and go back to sleep. After reading the child a bedtime story doesn’t work, Dre decides to make up one of his own that touches on “multiple political and social issues” as well as Dre’s concerns about the state of the country. One scene features Dre and his eldest son Junior (Marcus Scribner) arguing over whether or not athletes should be allowed to kneel before games, a la Colin Kaepernick.

Looks like Kaepernick and national anthem kneeling are tantamount to nuclear waste to middle America and no one wants to touch it — especially ABC.

“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,” an ABC spokesperson told Variety. “However, on this episode there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”

Barris seconds ABC’s explanation with this statement to Variety: “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris said to Variety. “’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.”

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