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NBC and Netflix drop Bill Cosby from lineup amid rape allegations

NBC and Netflix pull their scheduled Cosby shows
NBC and Netflix pull their scheduled Cosby shows
Spencer Platt/Getty

  1. NBC announced Tuesday morning that it will not go forward with its untitled forthcoming comedy series starring Bill Cosby.
  2. This happened just a few hours after Netflix announced it would be "postponing" Bill Cosby 77, a special filmed on his 77th birthday that was supposed to focus on "relationships, marriage, and children.'
  3. All of this is happening because decades-old rape allegations from more than a dozen women have resurfaced against Cosby in the past couple of weeks.
  4. Cosby and his representatives continue to maintain that these accusations are false and that Cosby is innocent.
  5. Update: TV Land also announced Tuesday that it will stop showing re-runs of The Cosby Show.

Did Netflix and NBC drop Cosby because of the allegations?

It seems that way. Neither company has explicitly stated that they have removed him from their line-up because 15 women have claimed that he sexually assaulted them. But their choice to drop the projects now, amid several women alleging publicly that Bill Cosby raped them, heavily suggests that reasoning.

Both of these projects will likely cost the companies a great deal of money. NBC's untitled comedy was supposed to show Cosby as a family patriarch to three daughters with children of their own. Mike Sikowitz and Mike O'Malley were scheduled to write and produce the comedy, and O'Malley (known for his work on Glee) may have starred alongside Cosby.

NBC had not officially picked up the project, but it had a "script commitment," which means that it had ordered a script for the show, but had not committed to actually filming anything. However, according to Deadline, NBC owed Cosby a significant penalty (money paid for a project that doesn't go forward) if it did not opt to pick up the pilot. This sort of deal is common for projects hoping to attract big stars to TV, though Deadline notes NBC will likely not have to pay the full penalty, as the network and Cosby are expected to settle on the matter.

Barbra Bowman, one of the victims who has spoken out, told The Hollywood Reporter, "I think it's irresponsible to put him back in a position of a patriarchal father, in an authoritative and trusted position. I'm very disappointed that he would be endorsed in that [type of role] again."

The show had been expected to debut in the summer or fall of 2015.