Keenen Ivory Wayans reportedly is terminating his exclusive television and feature pact with 20th Century Fox and will give up his hands-on producing role on “In Living Color,” the hit sketch comedy he created for Fox Broadcasting Co.
Wayans was said to be miffed with Fox for a number of reasons, including censorship of the show and the decision to air repeats from “Color’s” first season on Thursday nights without consulting him.
Wayans, whose brothers Damon and Shawn and sister Kim are among the show’s ensemble cast, entered into an exclusive movie and TV pact with Fox in November 1990, about six months after “In Living Color” had premiered on the weblet.
Before that, Wayans starred in and produced the MGM feature film “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.”
That far-reaching deal called for Wayans to develop and produce TV programming and write, direct and produce features. It also made a provision to allow him to cultivate new talent under his Ivory Way Prods. banner.
A representative for Wayans and a spokesman for Fox both declined comment.
Wayans’ silence on his departure may have been part of the terms, since losing “Color’s” creator and exec producer could be perceived as a blow to the show as Twentieth TV prepares plans to introduce it in off-network syndication.
Twentieth went through contract renegotiation problems with a number of “Living Color” cast members prior to this season — including James Carrey, David Alan Grier and Kim Wayans — although there’s no evidence that was related to the current discord.
Damon Wayans was lured back to the show in a regular capacity this season after it was initially understood that he would leave the series or appear only sparingly. The show is averaging an 11.5 rating, 17 share in Nielsen season to date.