Jerrod Carmichael called it “criminal” of NBC to pull the mass-shooting episode of his series The Carmichael Show last night.
NBC decided not to air the episode Wednesday night, hours after a man opened fire on the GOP Congressional baseball team practicing for tonight’s charity Congressional Baseball Game, leaving four injured including Rep. Steve Scalise and a lobbyist who remain in critical condition. Later in the day, three people were murdered, and more injured, in a mass-shooting at a UPS facility in San Francisco.
The network plans to reschedule the Carmichael Show episode, a source close to the matter told Deadline. Meanwhile, the network ran a different episode of his series that had been scheduled to air later this month, on Wednesday night.
Re-scheduling episodes with storylines about horrific events, if a similar actual horrific event happens on day of or shortly before its scheduled broadcast, has been industry norm for many years. Even so, Carmichael sharply criticized NBC for not airing his episode the same day.
“I understand a corporation making that decision, but really, to me, what it says is that you don’t think America is smart enough to handle real dialogue and something that reflects real family conversations and something that feels honest and true and still respects the victims,” he told Chelsea Handler on her Netflix talk show.
“We handled the episode with as much love and integrity as we could. To pull that is just criminal. It does a disservice to the viewer, it does a disservice to you, it does a disservice to all of us.”
Precedent for NBC’s decision includes a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, in which a student brings a gun to school to use on himself, which was rescheduled after two students brought guns to school and murdered 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives at Columbine High School in 1999.
A Mr. Robot episode was rescheduled when a TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia were murdered on live TV and it made national news.
And CBS yanked episodes of two series, Supergirl and NCIS: Los Angeles, that dealt with a bombing and ISIS recruiting, respectively, after a night of ISIS-coordinated shootings and a bombing in Paris that left 130 dead and hundreds more wounded.
More recently, Shooter’s premiere was twice postponed last summer, owing to real-life shootings.
Network execs have have explained in the past (though NBC declined comment on Carmichael’s episode when contacted) they pull episodes in these circumstances out of sensitivity to families and friends of victims. Then there’s advertisers, who don’t want their products being promoted in too-soon episodes following tragedy.