Petition prompts new airdate for ‘SVU’ guest-starring Mike Tyson


NBC has moved an episode of its drama series about sex-crime victims — in which Mike Tyson is a guest star — so as not to air on the eve of a global event supporting survivors of rape and abuse. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)
January 30, 2013

NBC has moved an episode of its drama series about sex-crime victims — in which Mike Tyson is a guest star — so as not to air on the eve of a global event supporting survivors of rape and abuse.

The episode of “Law & Order: SVU” that was originally scheduled to air Feb. 13 has been moved to Feb. 6.

The airdate was changed after rape survivor Marcie Kaveney created a petition on Change.org asking NBC to recast Tyson’s role. She told The TV Column last week that she did so after learning about the casting and the airdate — which was on the eve of the event One Billion Rising.

“As soon as I saw it [in a news report], I just saw red,” Kaveney, who now works as a rape-crisis advocate in Fort Myers, Fla., told The TV Column.

Tyson was arrested in 1991 and charged with raping then-18-year-old Miss Black America pageant competitor Desiree Washington; he was convicted and served three years of a six-year prison sentence.

In Kaveney’s petition — which has more than 7,000 signatures on Change.org — she requests that NBC “re-consider casting convicted rapist, Mike Tyson.”

Tyson has finally weighed in on the petition, insisting that it’s a “difference of opinion.”

“I’m sorry that she’s not happy,” he said of Kaveney, in an interview with TV Guide, adding: “I didn’t rape nobody or do anything like that, and this lady wasn’t there to know if I did or not.”

“Since I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes,” he said.

Tyson also provided some details of his “SVU” character, which NBC declined to give earlier. Tyson plays a death-row inmate who was a victim of childhood abuse and who murdered one of his abusers.

Tyson said he was coached by his support team about what to say during the interview because “they feel I can’t handle this stuff.” He added: “I’m happy with myself. I’m not on drugs. I’m not drinking. I’m not making a big fool of myself again. I’m trying really hard, you know?”

NBC had not returned e-mails and a phone call seeking comment at press time.

‘Met Your Mother,’ 9.0

CBS was finally able Wednesday to make it official: “How I Met Your Mother” is coming back for one, final — and this time they mean it — season.

All series regulars — Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan, and show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas — will be back for a ninth season, at the end of which, CBS swears, the dad/narrator will reveal (while telling the longest of bedtime stories) who mom is in this narrative.

Not that it matters, because dad’s kids were, several seasons ago, doomed to years of therapy. Because let’s face it: Over its nearly eight seasons to date, Dad has been something of a hound dog, and don’t even get us started on the mom candidates.

Speaking to TV critics several weeks ago at Winter TV Press Tour 2013 in Pasadena, Calif., CBS programming chief Nina Tassler warned that a ninth-season announcement was imminent.

Squeezing a ninth season out of this sitcom was a priority for CBS. Despite all the “long in the tooth” blah, blah, blah from The Reporters Who Cover Television, “HIMYM” last season (its seventh) scored its best numbers ever among viewers (nearly 10 million of them), as well as in the 18-to-49-year-old and 18-to-34-year-old viewer demographics. Most important, “HIMYM” has the youngest median age of any CBS series: 44.2 years.

Returning “HIMYM” became even more important to CBS this fall when the freshman Monday comedy “Partners” crashed and burned early, and the network’s midseason comedy “Friend Me” plunged into limbo with the death of one of its co-creators.

‘Katie’s’ pickup

Six days after Katie Couric’s much-ballyhooed interview with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o — about his love affair with fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua — Disney’s TV syndication division rewarded Couric with a formal second-season pickup on her new daytime talk show.

That news didn’t surprise Couric nearly as much as Lennay’s phone call from the dead surprised Te’o, given that Couric’s show already had a two-year deal with ABC-owned TV stations across the country.

That said, it’s worth noting that “Katie” is the top-rated new syndicated talk show among viewers of all ages, as well as in the key 25-to-54-year-old chick demographic group so important to daytime TV. And that the Jan. 24 interview with Te’o and his parents scored 30 percent bigger ratings than the show’s prior four-week average.

Sadly, “Katie’s” original exec producer, Jeff Zucker, has departed to go shake things up at CNN, and Michael Morrison joined late last month.

And in other Te’o news: Roniah Tuiasosopo, the guy behind Fake Lennay Kekua, will bare all to Oprah protege Dr. Phil on his daytime talker Thursday and Friday. He’s going to say his was the voice talking to Te’o all those hours on the phone, when Te’o thought he was talking to a woman, and that he was deeply, romantically in love with the football star.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.

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