In February, Zimmerman shot to death the unarmed Martin, 17, during a confrontation. During the 911 call, Zimmerman explained that he had followed Martin in a gated community in which Zimmerman was a neighborhood-watch volunteer.
In the recording heard by NBC viewers, Zimmerman seemed to say without prompting: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
Edited out was the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman whether the person he was suspicious of was “black, white or Hispanic.”
NBC “pounced on the Zimmerman/Martin matter because [the network] knew this tragedy could be, with proper sensationalization and manipulation, a racial powderkeg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs, particularly the plummeting ratings for their ailing ‘Today Show,’ ” the suit alleges.
Zimmerman is seeking an undisclosed amount of money in the lawsuit, which also names as defendants the NBC correspondents Ron Allen and Lilia Rodriguez Luciano, as well as Jeff Burnside, a reporter for the NBC-owned station in Miami.
Luciano, Burnside and an NBC producer were fired after a network investigation determined that the 911 tape had been edited.
“We strongly disagree with the accusations made in the complaint,” NBC Universal said Thursday afternoon in a statement, adding: “There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly. We intend to vigorously defend our position in court.”
Midseason CBS moves
CBS will deploy its utility comedy “Rules of Engagement” in the time slot of the canceled freshman comedy “Partners”: Mondays at 8:30 p.m., starting Feb. 4. And the future of the network’s other new comedy, “Friend Me,” is up in the air after the October death of one of its creators.
Among CBS’s other midseason announcements Thursday, the new cop drama “Golden Boy” is getting the time slot of the canceled “Made in Jersey”: Fridays at 9 p.m., starting March 8. “Golden Boy” will first warm up with two Tuesday outings in “Vegas’s” 10 p.m. time slot, where it will have the lead-in power of the “NCIS” franchise at its back, on Feb. 26 and March 5. (“Vegas” returns March 12.)
“Golden Boy” is about the meteoric rise of an ambitious cop named Walter Clark Jr. The character is played by Theo James, who — yes — played dashing Turkish diplomat Kemal Pamuk in an episode of “Downton Abbey” (the guy who seduced Lady Mary Crawley, eldest daughter of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, then inconsiderately died in her bed).
But back to CBS: Clark Jr. becomes the youngest police commissioner in the history of New York City. The series explores the high personal and professional cost that he pays to get the gig, mentored by a veteran detective (Chi McBride).