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'Mixed-Ish' Creators Sued For Allegedly Stealing Concept

Norman says in Oct. 2017 she signed a deal with Big Breakfast to write, executive produce and star in the series. That company shares a parent with Artists First, a production and management company that counts Ross and Barris among it

2020-09-25T17:48:00Z
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Courtesy : TV Insider

The spin-off show to Black-Ish called Mixed-Ish is currently in some trouble. Actor Hayley Marie Norman is suing ABC, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kenya Barris and others claiming they appropriated a show she'd been pitching and turned it into Black-ish spinoff Mixed-ish.

Norman says in Oct. 2017 she signed a deal with Big Breakfast to write, executive produce and star in the series. That company shares a parent with Artists First, a production and management company that counts Ross and Barris among its clients. She alleges both Ross and her manager Brian Dobbins were involved in the development of her series and claims Dobbins pitched it to Barris but he wasn't interested.

Her series, which is described as "a 30-minute sitcom, employing flashbacks, that follows the journey of a mixed-race female protagonist as she grapples with her biracial identity while living in the suburbs surrounded by both sides of her African American and Caucasian families," was pitched in late 2018 to Showtime, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon and Starz, and they all passed.

In January 2019, Norman says Ross advised that they revisit the series in a few months after rethinking the pitch, but the next month she read that ABC was in development on a Black-ish prequel centered on Ross' character Rainbow Johnson.

At that point, Black-ish had just been renewed for its sixth season and already had one spinoff ordered, Freeform's Grown-ish. The original series had highlighted that Bow Johnson (who's loosely based on Barris' real wife) was biracial in an episode featuring her parents that first aired in March 2015, which was two years before Norman signed her deal with Big Breakfast and almost three before she alleges Ross became involved.

Still, Norman insists Mixed-ish is her series, an idea she conceived based on her own background and registered as Mixed with the WGA in 2016.

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