A producer on the E! reality show “The Bradshaw Bunch” has filed a gender discrimination suit, alleging that he was fired because the network wanted a “female voice” in his job.
Michael Call worked as a co-executive producer on the first season of the unscripted series, which chronicles the home life of NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw. The show — which returns for a second season this fall — features Bradshaw’s wife, two daughters and stepdaughter.
Call had worked on several unscripted shows, including as a co-executive producer on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” According to the suit, he was told by one executive that he was hired because of his experience with female casts. Most of the crew on “The Bradshaw Bunch” was female, and the NBCUniversal and E! executives who oversaw it were also female, according to the complaint.
A few weeks into production, Call said he was informed that the network was not happy with the initial cuts of the show, and wanted a “female voice” to replace him.
“The communication was clear that the network wanted to replace Plaintiff with a woman in the role of co-producer,” the suit states.
He was told he would be considered for upcoming jobs with the production company, including “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” The following day, according to the suit, E! executive Elaine Metaxas emailed Call, saying she was “glad (he) understands (their) need for a female voice.”
Call raised an objection with Lisa Shannon, a senior VP at Shed Media, arguing that he was being fired simply for being a man. According to the suit, Shannon backtracked on the original rationale and said they needed someone who could “bring out the voice of the women” on the show.
Call alleges that he had a good rapport with the female members of the cast. Shannon also said they needed someone to counterbalance the style of the showrunner, Jason Ehrlich, according to the suit.
Another executive explained that Call had been fired because the show was not going in the direction the network had hoped, according to the complaint.
Call was replaced by a woman. According to the suit, Call was let go with six weeks left on his contract. He alleges that he has since been unable to find comparable employment.
E! did not immediately respond to a request for comment.