Cybill Shepherd said in a radio interview Thursday that she believes her eponymous 1990s sitcom “would have run another five years” — if she hadn’t declined an unwanted advance from Les Moonves, the disgraced former chairman and chief executive of CBS.
The veteran actress told Sirius XM radio host Michelle Collins that Moonves asked to take her home after a dinner date set up by their assistants. Shepherd said she turned him down and, "quite shortly after,” began encountering regular pushback on “Cybill,” which aired on CBS from 1995 to 1998. The final episode of the show, which starred Shepherd as a struggling, aging actress, ended on a “to be continued” cliffhanger that never found resolution.
In September, the longtime CBS executive resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations from a dozen women.
Six women came forward with allegations against Moonves in a July article by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker. An additional six women alleged instances of harassment, retaliation and forced oral sex and intimidation in a follow-up article, published in September. The next day, CBS announced Moonves would step down.
Moonves has denied allegations of wrongdoing. He told the New Yorker in a statement that he “had consensual relationships” with three of the six women from the September article, and that he had “never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women.”
“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” Moonves said in a statement following his resignation. “I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company.”
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that additional sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves had surfaced as part of an investigation by lawyers that CBS’s board hired to investigate the claims against Moonves. According to the report in the Times, the investigation found additional allegations that a CBS employee was “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves and that Moonves received oral sex from other network employees “under circumstances that sound transactional and improper to the extent that there was no hint of any relationship, romance or reciprocity.”
A representative for Moonves could not immediately be reached Thursday. A representative for CBS declined to comment on Shepherd’s allegations.
On “The Michelle Collins Show," Shepherd described the alleged encounter she believes led to the cancellation of “Cybill."
“He was telling me his wife didn’t turn him on, some mistress didn’t turn him on,” Shepherd said. “And I’m watching him drink alcohol. ... he says, ‘Well, why don’t you let me take you home?’ ”
“I said, ‘no, I’ve got a ride,’ ” Shepherd recalled, adding that she had a friend — an off-duty officer with the Los Angeles Police Department — waiting for her.
In a 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Shepherd said that the show’s abrupt end “felt like having one of my limbs cut off.”
“It was a hugely emotional thing for me and really bad for my career to have that show just disappear like it never existed,” Shepherd told the magazine.