Tracee Ellis Ross, Kenya Barris & ABC Hit With Lawsuit, Woman Says They Stole Her Idea For ‘Mixed-ish’

Tracee Ellis Ross, Kenya Barris & ABC Hit With Lawsuit, Woman Says They Stole Her Idea For ‘Mixed-ish’

While “Mixed-ish” was the second spinoff from ABC’s “black-ish”, one woman, Hayley Marie Norman, has filed a lawsuit against ABC, Kenya Barristhe creator of the series, as well as actress Tracee Ellis Ross with allegations that they stole her concept, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

She said it started back in October 2017 that she went into partnership with Big Breakfast to not only serve as a star of the show but also be a writer and executive producer. Big Breakfast has the same parent company as Artists First, a management group that Tracee Ellis Ross and Kenya Barris are both clients under.

Norman claimed that Tracee Ellis Ross and her manager, Brian Dobbins, helped develop her version of the show. Dobbins allegedly told Kenya Barris about the concept but he turned it down. She also pitched the show to Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Hulu, and Starz at the end of 2018, but no one picked it up.

Norman’s show was

“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.”

Norman said that Ross told her in January 2019 that they would take a look at the series again in a couple of months. But Norman said she found out the next month that ABC was creating a series surrounding the childhood of Ross’s Black-ish character, Rainbow Johnson. 

Norman also alleged that Mixed-ish is really her series that she created from her own childhood and life. She registered the show as Mixed under the Writers Guild of America in 2016.

Her attorney, Michael Plonsker, wrote in the lawsuit:

“The premise is identical, its portrayal is identical, its setting is identical, and its tone is identical. Moreover, literally everyone involved in the ‘creative’ and ‘production’ aspect of ‘Mixed-ish’ was either directly or indirectly involved with Norman and the development of Norman’s Series — from Big Breakfast and Ross to Artists First and Dobbins, to Barris who ostensibly passed on Norman’s Series after being presented with it, and to ABC, which knowingly proceeded with airing a series it knew was the result of a theft and rip off perpetrated by the above-mentioned parties.”

She’s suing for breach of contract, breach of confidence, intentional misrepresentation, and intentional interference with contract. She’s requesting compensatory and punitive damages and restitution for the money that was made from Mixed-ish. 

What are your thoughts on the lawsuit? Comment and let us know.


Authored by: Char Patterson