Entertainment & Arts

New Bill Cosby TV show scrapped by NBC

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Media captionDavid Willis reports on the cancellation of Bill Cosby's new show

US TV network NBC has scrapped a proposed project with comedian Bill Cosby after accusations that he sexually assaulted women resurfaced.

In a statement, the company confirmed the project with the 77-year-old was "no longer in development".

On Tuesday, streaming service Netflix postponed a special show with Cosby after a model alleged the comedian had sexually assaulted her in 1982.

Cosby has so far declined to comment on the allegation.

"We can confirm that the Cosby project is no longer in development," NBC Spokesperson Rebecca Marks said.

The network declined to comment on the reason for the decision but said production of the show had not started.

New allegations

The move came after Janice Dickinson, a model and TV presenter, said Cosby had sexually assaulted her after a dinner date in Lake Tahoe, California, in 1982.

"The next morning I woke up and I wasn't wearing my pyjamas," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I remembered before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Model Janice Dickinson is the latest person to come forward with allegations

She said she had written about the incident in her 2002 autobiography but was pressured by Cosby's lawyer and her publisher to remove the details.

Cosby's lawyer, Martin Singer, said that Dickinson's allegations were "false and outlandish".

She is one of several women to have accused the veteran comedian of sexual assault going back almost 30 years.

Actress Barbara Bowman said she had been sexually assaulted by Cosby on multiple occasions in 1985, when she was 17.

Writing in the Washington Post earlier this month, she said she did not report the alleged incidents to the police because she feared she would not be believed.

Cosby has never been charged for any of the alleged crimes.

Former Pennsylvania prosecutor Bruce L Castor Jr, who investigated one woman's claims of sexual assault in 2004, said on Wednesday that he had decided not to prosecute Cosby because he felt there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction.

"I wrote my opinion in such a way as I thought conveyed to the whole world that I thought he had done it, he had just gotten away with it because of a lack of evidence," the former Montgomery County district attorney said.

If Cosby hadn't been cooperative with the investigation, "I probably would have arrested him," Castor said.

'No comment'

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Media captionBill Cosby refused to comment when asked by AP about sexual abuse allegations

The comedian was asked about the allegations at the end of an interview with the AP news agency on 6 November.

"No, no. We don't answer that," Cosby said. "There is no response."

The comedian, who was principally speaking about his loan of more than 50 artworks to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art, also asked the interviewer not to circulate his answer.

"If you want to consider yourself to be serious... it will not appear anywhere," he said. "We thought, because it was AP, that it would not be necessary to go over that question."

"And I would appreciate it if it was scuttled."

However, the agency made the decision to release the footage this week, saying the interview was "on the record" and that it had made "no agreement to avoid questions about the allegations".

Sitcom

The NBC show, which was announced in January, would have returned Cosby to the network that hosted The Cosby Show, the 1980s sitcom he is best known for.

The long-running series cast the comedian as the lovable patriarch of a large, middle-class family living in Brooklyn, New York.

US network TV Land has pulled repeats of the show in the wake of the historical allegations. Other services, including streaming sites Amazon and Hulu, have yet to follow suit.

The allegations have overshadowed a planned comeback for the comedian, who has dozens of stand-up shows in the US and Canada scheduled over the next few months.

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