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Bill Cosby project no longer going forward at NBC

Bill Cosby poses for a portrait in New York. (Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

In the wake of multiple rape allegations against Bill Cosby, NBC has officially scrapped development of its upcoming project starring the 77-year-old comedian. The network had no further comment.

It was clear in the last few days — when more women came forward and said that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them — NBC wouldn’t have much of a choice. This past summer, NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke told TV reporters that the comedy would be a “multi-generational family show” with Cosby as “the patriarch of the family, dispensing his classic wisdom on relationships and parenthood.”

Though the project was still in extremely early stages — there was no script and it had not been officially greenlit by network executives — going forward apparently seemed impossible after the latest allegations. On Tuesday, former “America’s Next Top Model” judge Janice Dickinson became the fifth woman to publicly say that she was sexually assaulted by Cosby. “Stuffing feelings of rape and my unresolved issues from this incident. . . drove me into a life of trying to hurt myself,” the former supermodel told “Entertainment Tonight.”

Cosby’s lawyer called Janice Dickinson’s claims “a complete lie.” Over the weekend, Cosby refused to say a word when NPR host Scott Simon asked him about the allegations. His lawyer later released a statement that said, “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

This is the second company that has dropped support of Cosby-related projects: Tuesday night, Netflix confirmed that it would postpone the launch of Cosby’s comedy special, scheduled to be streamed starting on Thanksgiving.

The storm around Cosby’s image crisis has gone from bad to apocalyptic in the last couple of weeks. Though allegations about Cosby first emerged a decade ago (he settled a civil lawsuit against a woman in 2006), they got renewed buzz this fall when a major new Cosby biography by former CNN and NBC exec Mark Whitaker conspicuously failed to mention them; a month later, the story went mainstream again when comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby a rapist in his stand-up act. Last week, former actress Barbara Bowman wrote a first person account for The Post called “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” that went viral.

Cosby is scheduled to perform a show in Melbourne, Fla., on Friday.

In the wake of multiple rape allegations against Bill Cosby, NBC has canceled a project starring the 77-year-old comedian and Netflix is postponing the launch of his stand-up comedy special. (Video: Reuters)


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