CBS’ longtime Head of Casting Peter Golden has stepped down effective immediately, a network spokesman confirmed to Deadline. A respected veteran casting executive, he is leaving after 23 years at the network.
The move comes after Golden’s name became involved in several controversies surrounding CBS over the past few years related its diversity record and corporate culture.
For a couple of seasons, especially from 2016-2017, CBS was criticized over the lack of diversity in the lead casts of its new series. The issue came to a head after the network picked up new shows with all-male leads, the majority of them Caucasian, for two consecutive years. As part of the criticism, it was revealed that CBS’ casting department, led by Golden, consisted entirely of white executives.
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CBS eventually hired a non-white casting executive, though he left for Netflix after a brief stint at the network. CBS has made a concerted effort to have more actors of color on its shows and this season introduced one of the most diverse slate of new series ever on a broadcast network in terms of lead casts.
Golden was then implicated in the Leslie Moonves scandal for trying to cast Bobbie Phillips, one of Moonves’ alleged victims, at the behest of his boss. According to a leaked report from the investigation into Moonves over allegations of sexual misconduct, the former CBS Corp CEO had asked Golden to give Phillips a role as a way to dissuade her from going public with her story. Golden did offer her a small part, which she declined.
More recently, former CBS executive Whitney Davis wrote an open letter in Variety blasting the network for its lack of diversity. It included unflattering references to Golden reportedly giving preference to white over minority actors for roles, allegations he has vehemently denied.
Golden, an old-school executive who was well liked in the casting community, spent virtually his entire tenure at CBS under the shadow of Moonves, a former actor who was hands-on involved in casting and made the final decision on every role, even when he was running a media corporation.
Golden joined CBS in 1996 as VP Talent and Casting, and was named SVP Talent and Casting, CBS Entertainment, in August 1998. He was upped to EVP Talent and Casting in 2004.
During his tenure at CBS, Golden supervised casting of more than 450 pilots and over 160 series, and more than 200 movies and miniseries.
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