Filmmaker Woody Allen, whose career has been marred by sexual abuse allegations made in 1992 by his daughter, Dylan Farrow, has granted a rare interview that will be streamed on Paramount Plus as part of a broader “CBS Sunday Morning” package.
CBS News says the interview, recorded in July of last year, represents Allen’s first in-depth television interview in nearly three decades. Lee Cowan, a national correspondent and substitute anchor for “Sunday Morning,” who conducted the interview, will anchor the special, titled “The Woody Allen Interview,” which will be available on Paramount Plus starting March 28. The program will also include an interview with Dylan Farrow conducted by Gayle King in 2018 and a new segment from Erin Moriarty that examines what happens when artists are accused of morally questionable acts.
“Lee Cowan sat down with Woody Allen in July 2020 following the release of his memoir for what would be Allen’s first significant television interview in nearly three decades. The interview, which occurred last summer during an active news cycle, is being presented now given the renewed interest in the controversy surrounding the filmmaker,:” CBS News said in a statement. “The exclusive for Paramount Plus offers the ability to explore Allen, his career, and the allegations in context and with the depth that this story demands.”
CBS News did not offer details on the subjects Allen addressed in the interview, or provide information on any of his responses. Allen, 85, has long denied his daughter’s claims. He has never been charged with a crime by a court.
But the allegations against him have followed him for years. They have risen anew with the debut of a four-part documentary series, “Allen v. Farrow,” that launched earlier this year on WarnerMedia’s HBO. In that series, Dylan Farrow speaks on camera for the first time about her experiences. The series includes home movies from Allen’s former partner, Mia Farrow, that include Dylan at age 7 describing what Allen allegedly did to her. Audio recordings Mia Farrow made of phone conversations with Allen are also presented. Allen is married to Soon-Yi Previn, an older daughter of his former partner.
Allen did not take part in that project, and he is not likely to address it in the interview, which took place more than half a year ago. The interview with Allen was conducted several months after Hachette Book Group said it would not publish an Allen autobiography, “Apropos of Nothing,” in which he denies Dylan Farrow’s allegations and discusses the sadness he feels over his estrangement from his daughter. The book was brought to market by Arcade Publishing. The interview was also recorded as the country grappled with the coronavirus pandemic and a national protest over the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, two events that likely occupied CBS News executives and news production resources at the time.
The decision to present the program via the recently launched streaming service may raise eyebrows. The special at present seems unlikely to be broadcast on the traditional CBS network, due to its length, subject matter and the desire to show the interview with the accompanying segments.
ViacomCBS has made news a core offering of Paramount Plus, using the phrase “Breaking News” in the new service’s marketing slogan. The live-streaming news service CBSN, which offers a live feed as well as feeds from CBS owned stations, is part of Paramount Plus. So too is “60 Minutes Plus,” an offshoot of the venerable CBS News Sunday magazine show that features a new set of correspondents who can present segments that go as long as 20 to 30 minutes.
“Sunday Morning” has been on the air since 1979. Originally conceived as the TV equivalent of a Sunday-morning newspaper, the program has become part of a weekend ritual for many of its viewers. Aside from the occasional special or anniversary program, however, “Sunday Morning” has not regularly extended itself to other properties (it was in 2018 at the center of a ticketed theater event that put anchor Jane Pauley in front of a live audience). The Paramount Plus debut hints at other formats that may be under consideration at ViacomCBS for some of its best-known news properties.