Bob Greenblatt knew what was coming, so he opened the NBC TCA presentation with a joke, “I want to start by saying that we are developing a series with Bill Cosby and a miniseries about Hillary Clinton.” Those, of course, were NBC projects announced at previous TCAs that have gone on to create major controversies and get dropped by the network.
The Cosby turmoil kept coming up, with critics grilling Greenblatt on how the network decided to do a project with Cosby, who had been under a cloud of suspicion for decades, and how it decided to scrap it.”You know, 15 women came out and accused him of having done what they accused him of,” Greenblatt said. “While over the years we’d heard some of those accusations and we knew there were a couple settlements and whatnot, it didn’t seem to be the sort of thing that was critical mass. When we realized that there seemed to be so much more of it, it wasn’t something that we could go, ‘Oh, we’re not sure.’ Look, he hasn’t been proven guilty of anything, so I don’t want to be the one that says guilty until proven innocent, but when that many people come out and have similar complaints and it becomes such a tainted situation, there was no way that we could move forward with it.”
As the questions kept coming, asking Greenblatt to define what “critical mass” was, he started to get testy. “You want me to put a number on it?,” he retorted. “15 yes. 2 no… All I can tell you is there’s a lot of people who have been in business with Cosby for 25 years, and go ask them the same question… I didn’t think it was a problem until it became critical.”
As for the future, “yes, I think that’s safe to say” that NBC will never do another Bill Cosby show, he said.
On other subjects, Greenblatt admitted the network was disappointed by the ratings performance of the Katherine Heigl drama State Of Affairs, adding philosophically, “you expect the worst and you hope for the best and you are hopefully surprised.”
He was far more optimistic about the Dick Wolf dramas Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., which are certain to come back, with the possibility for the long-gestating third series, Chicago Medical, raised again.
On one of NBC’s single-camera comedies, About A Boy, which has not been doing well in the ratings and has been benched to make room for multi-camera comedies, “the show is not over yet,” he said.
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