As new accusations of rape and sexual impropriety are levied against Bill Cosby, the comedy legend's broadcast partners are, predictably, pulling back.
One day after Netflix announced that it was postponing the premiere date for the comedy special “Bill Cosby 77” (and one day after former supermodel Janice Dickinson told Entertainment Tonight that Cosby raped her in 1982), NBC confirms that it will not be moving forward with plans to bring Cosby back to TV with a new pilot.
Back in July at the Television Critics Association press tour, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke described the Cosby show as “an important show for us.” At the time, the project was described as a multi-cam set at Sony with Mike Sikowitz and Mike O'Malley writing.
“It”s a multigenerational family show, so it”s very ensemble,” Salke said. “Bill Cosby plays the patriarch of the family dispelling his classic wisdom on relationships, parenthood, everything in life, and it”s a great kind of “him with three daughters with husbands and grandchildren.” It”s just a classic, big-extended-family sitcom.”
On Wednesday (November 19), NBC confirmed that the Cosby project is no longer development, clarifying that no script had actually been delivered, nor had production on the pilot ever been green lit.
As accusations have mounted or resurfaced in recent days — Cosby settled a lawsuit with Andrea Constand in 2006, while former publicst Joan Tarshis' recent allegations and a Washington Post Op-Ed from Barbara Bowman surfaced before Dickinson's — the News section on Cosby's website has become a sea of variably worded denials.
A weekend statement from Cosby's lawyer John P. Schmidt, now removed from the website, declared, “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”
While that statement is gone, it has been amended with, “The statement released by Mr. Cosby”s attorney over the weekend was not intended to refer in any way to Andrea Constand. As previously reported, differences between Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand were resolved to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago. Neither Mr. Cosby nor Ms. Constand intends to comment further on the matter.”
Stay tuned, we suppose, for more details…