*Less than a month after PBS dropped Tavis Smiley’s talk show after he reportedly sexually harassed and had inappropriate relationships with subordinates, the veteran talk show host announced on Monday a deal to work with a new series about inspirational stories.
USA Today reports that his series, “The Upside with Tavis Smiley,” will be streamed online and shown on The Word Network, a religious-oriented cable and satellite channel geared for black viewers. He also announced a five-city “town hall” tour to talk about relationships in the workplace.
Smiley’s new show is expected to start in the spring. His late-night PBS show aired for 14 years before it was dropped late last year amid “troubling allegations” against the award-winning journalist and author.
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Smiley compared getting canned by PBS to when he was fired by BET in 2001 for offering an interview that he had conducted with a newsmaker to ABC News before BET.
“I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy,” Smiley said. “Having said that, the last time this happened, great things came out of it.”
His new series has also struck a deal for international distribution as well as his production company’s inventory of interviews that he conducted in the past. He’s also planning to host a book and online course in “Leading by Listening.”
Smiley will moderate discussions about “acceptable workplace” behavior at his “town hall” appearances in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
“Everyone is saying, ‘We need to talk about this,’ but nobody is doing that,” he said. “Nobody is creating a space for it. Now here I am doing it.”