NBC Boss on Bill Cosby: ‘I Didn’t Think It Was A Problem Until It Became Critical’

Bill Cosby NBC Comedy: Bob Greenblatt

NBC chair Bob Greenblatt addressed his decision to cancel a planned comedy project with Bill Cosby during his executive session at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena on Friday, telling reporters, “I didn’t think it was a problem until it became critical.”

When they first pursued the deal with Cosby, he said, “While over the years we’d heard some of those accusations and we heard there were a couple of settlements, it didn’t seem to be the kind of thing that was critical mass,” he said.

“When we realized that there seemed to be so much more of it,” he said the network had no choice but to pull out of the project.

“He hasn’t been proven guilty of anything. I don’t want to be the one who says guilty until proven innocent, [but] when that many people come out and have similar complaints and it became such a tainted situation, there was no way we could move forward.”

He added, “I guess I can only say that I’m glad that we’re out from under that.”

NBC had cut a deal with Cosby last summer to star in a new comedy that would feature him in his familiar family patriarch role. The project, which would have been a reunion for Cosby and Tom Werner, was going to be produced by Sony Pictures TV. The studio was not believed to have turned in a finished script to NBC.

Greenblatt confirmed the network would no longer pursue any future deals with the embattled comedian. Asked if they would never do a project with Cosby, he replied, “I think that’s safe to say.”

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  1. cnmgl5 says:

    Considering Bill Cosby’s “legacy” is based on integrity, respect for values and love of family, it is simply amazing that he has lived and defended a life based on lies for so many years. His wife is also aware of his duplicity, yet she defends him. I guess he’s not up to living an actual life of integrity, respect and love of family or else he would admit to his past and face the consequences like a man not like a liar. He could turn his life around with admission, but I doubt he’s man enough to perform this miracle.

  2. nflgal6 says:

    I believe Cosby is guilty. He knows it and all his victims know it. He is a nasty man and always has been whether he were a rapist or not. But the truth is he is a rapist and did molest and rape all these women. Who would want to do any kind of business with him. He should come clean and go to therapy and only then can anyone forgive.

  3. Elissa Foster says:

    I understand why they did it. Best to protect yourself when you are not sure!

  4. diana says:

    This whole thing is absolutely horrible.
    Well, unfortunately the damage is done and those involved, regardless if the accusations are true or not, have brought him down.
    It seems deliberate.

  5. Contessa46 says:

    Wasn’t critical? Your brains are in your penis!!

  6. Robert E. Burns says:

    Good!!!

    Too many clues. No need to “own” his history or try to the job of judge. It’s not NBC’s job or yours.

    You did your job and did it well,

    Bob Burns

  7. catherbo says:

    critical mass? if he had only raped one person then thats ok? OMG NBC you just lost a viewer.

  8. danR says:

    I guess Prince Andrew is happy about all the Cosby coverage. It’s sorta taken the Google News heat off his own case, hasn’t it.

  9. dary says:

    So now there is a critical mass to rape. Just wow.

  10. Cinda says:

    Whatever happened to “You’re innocent until PROVEN guilty?” They’re crucifying Bill Cosby, taking away his awards and canceling his shows based in the words of women coming out of the woodwork. I would hate to think that I could be arrested and charged with a crime just on siome ACCUSING me and SAYING I did it. The press is to blame here too. They’re reporting it as FACT.They should be conducting their investigation first before they put it out there to the public I do not believe it happened. If (and that’s a big IF) he did the crime he should be he’ll accountable. But, until it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, then I believe he is innocent. I think these women lnew what they were doing, sleeping with this big nsme star hoping he would hep them with their careers, and when it didnt pan out they felt violated and embarrassed
    Why they’re coming out 30 yes later, we’ll never really know. But, you all are going to look pretty silly when the truth comes out.

    • As a business decision, NBC was probably correct. Avoiding controversy is generally a good rule when attempting to create an attractive product for a mega-audience. The same rule does not apply to cable, where a fractionalized audience can still deliver millions of eyeballs. My uninformed guess is that a sizeable percent of the overall adult male audience has been falsely accused of some form of rape at some point. This potential market segment is formed during school years (viz.,, Dukle, UVa, Oberlin) but even un-accused men are potential victims of false allegations and all know it. A Cosby series on cable would likely fare well in ratings with men alone. Organized boycotts of advertisers, however, could be the deal killer.

    • Bill B. says:

      This is a business and a huge one at that. NBC surely is not going to invest millions in creating a show that in all likelihood, after all of this, would fail and cost them dearly. You are not successful at what you do if you don’t run your business in a financially rewarding way. Guilty or not (and he’s probably guilty of something or other since he paid one off for silence), he is not a popular figure to invest that kind of money in. He’s a very bad business risk and because of his past success, they were probably negotiating millions in his salary alone. Way too big of a gamble if one is smart. That is only in regards to NBC. I don’t understand TV Land canceling re-runs of his old show nor do I understand Netflix’s refusal to show his special since it was already filmed and paid for. Their going to make more money by not showing it!? I don’t think so.

  11. preuser says:

    Would greenbelt have thought it was urgent sooner if one of his family members were one of the Accusers ? What did NBC and the other networks know during the last ~ 40 yrs …….. anything for ratings as long as you don’t get outed . Now Amazon is talking Woody Allen on board Imagine that .

  12. Why silence from so many for so long:

    When we have a society that does not honor the victim as women; those women are wary of being further victimized by those social mores in place.

    When there is a powerful beloved man, it is unthinkable that they would abuse. And this vision would be upheld by those very people that would be privy to the secret of the abuse. And they would in turn berate and chastise the victim.

    This is why so so many women stayed silent for so so many years.

    It is an aberration of a soul Mr. Cosby of what you did to yourself, your family, the countless women, their families, those that trusted you at the Network and your beloved fans.

    Save your self: involve yourself in tireless work to assist those in need worldwide. Cleanse your troubled soul and find something to help the planet.

    • TONY says:

      Blah Blah Blah..women, women, women…its all about the money in Hollywood. Whether he did it or not.

      • scarlett says:

        yes indeed. I agree with you, totally.

      • Marc Weiss says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful, sensitive response. Yes, it’s all about the money in Hollywood, but that’s no excuse for trivializing and belittling women’s concerns by writing “blah, blah blah women women women.”

        Rape is not a trivial thing.

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