*The Bill Cosby chapter appears to be officially over at NBC.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt delivered the final nail in the coffin Friday morning at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. Asked if it’s safe to say that NBC will never do another project with Bill Cosby, he answered, “Yes, that’s safe to say.”
NBC had been developing a multi-generational family sitcom with Cosby at the center, but the project was pulled after multiple women came forward with sexual assault allegations against the actor. Netflix also pulled its planned Cosby standup special and TV Land stopped airing reruns of “The Cosby Show.”
“The good news is – if there is any good news – unlike Netflix which had a special to run, or the ‘Cosby’ episodes that were running on a network, we were developing a script that we never even got a first draft of. So it wasn’t something that was imminently going forward or even into production. I guess I can only say that I’m glad that we’re out from under that.”
Greenblatt said he knew of Cosby’s past allegations that had resulted in settlements when deciding to move forward with the multigenerational project, but it hadn’t reached “critical mass,” which ultimately prompted the network to pull the plug altogether.
“When we realized that there seemed to be so much more of it, it wasn’t something that we could just go, ‘Oh, we’re not sure.’ I mean look, he hasn’t been proven guilty of anything, so I don’t want to be the one that says guilty until proven innocent. But when that many people come out and have similar complaints, and it becomes such a tainted situation, there was no way we could move forward with it.”
Pressed to answer why the network appeared to ignore the initial sexual assault accusations of one or two women before deciding to pull the plug only when it reached more than 15 accusers, Greenblatt got defensive.