NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt spoke with TV critics this morning at the network’s presentation during the TV Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, and NBC’s decision to quash plans to air Bill Cosby’s comeback sitcom next season came up.
Discussion of the Cosby controversy was not unexpected, and Greenblatt opened his presentation by joking about it.
“I want to start off with an announcement. We are developing a comedy with Bill Cosby and a miniseries about Hillary Clinton,”; quipped Greenblatt, referencing the firestorm of criticism that erupted over the network’s now-cancelled plans for a Hilary Clinton biopic.
Later in the session, Greenblatt discussed the Cosby show cancellation more seriously.
“Fifteen women came out and accused him of what they accused him of,”; Greenblatt told critics. “Over the years [we’d heard the accusations], but it didn’t seem the sort of thing that had reached critical mass, he hadn’t been proven guilty of anything. But when that many people come out and have similar complaints, it’s a tainted situation, no way we could move forward with it… I can only say I’m glad we’re out from under that.”;
That didn’t stop the questions, however, with one reporter asking the NBC chairman to define what he meant by “critical mass.”; Seemingly irrated, Greenblatt replied, “You want me to put a number on it? Fifteen yes. Two no.”
Even though The Cosby Show was one of the biggest hits in NBC history, Greenblatt was adamant that those days are long gone. When asked if NBC would never do another project with Cosby, Greenblatt was definitive: “Yes, I think that’s safe to say.”
Following Greenblatt’s session, Donald Trump and the contestants of The Celebrity Apprentice appeared before critics, and Trump was asked about Cosby not being approached by former TV daughter Keshia Knight-Pulliam in the season opener.
During his discussion, Trump admitted he’s no Cosby fan, “and not for the reasons you’re thinking about,”; he said of the scandal. “I have a very specific reason [for disliking Cosby],”; said Trump, but refused to elaborate on what that reason may be.
After the session, Trump spoke about Cosby a bit more, revealing that he witnessed an incident a few years ago and didn’t agree with the way Cosby handled the situation. “I just thought he wasn’t a good person,”; said Trump.