From America’s most loved to most hated…real quick.
In January, NBC announced with fanfare a plan to bring Bill Cosby back to television. Now, that pilot has been killed as Cosby’s public persona continues to suffer from recent and renewed accusations from multiple accusers that the comedian, now 77, sexually assaulted them. A source told BuzzFeed News, on Wednesday morning, the plug was officially pulled on the show.
After struggling to find success in a broad family comedy, NBC reached into its past in an attempt to fix that problem and made a deal with Cosby around the idea that he would play a patriarchal grandfather. Sony was to be the show’s producer, but in an unusual deal, NBC was paying Cosby directly, with a large financial penalty attached should the project not go forward.
During a press conference with reporters in July, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said, “Bill plays the patriarch of the family, dispensing his classic wisdom on relationships and parenthood, with three daughters, husbands, and grandchildren.”
After that press conference, BuzzFeed News asked NBC’s entertainment chairman, Bob Greenblatt, whether he was concerned about the sexual assault lawsuit Cosby had settled in 2006, and the 13 other women who had agreed to testify on his accuser’s behalf.
“All I do is try to put on shows that I think are good, with extraordinary talent,” Greenblatt responded. “I think he’s extraordinary. And I think the show will be good. All the other things will sort of sort themselves out.”
On Wednesday, NBC would not comment on the show’s ugly death, but confirmed that it was no longer moving forward. A source at the network told BuzzFeed News, “We never went as far as a delivered script and it had never even been greenlit to production.”