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.”