A Bill Cosby guest booking on "Late Show with David Letterman" has been quietly canceled -- the second time in a month that a Cosby booking has been dropped, the first on Queen Latifah's talk show.
Reason: None given, although Cosby is in the midst of a firestorm generated after comedian Hannibal Buress said at a standup gig that Cosby had raped several women and then told audience members to "google it" as proof. A video of the performance went viral, and just this past Monday, a meme generator on Cosby's website was removed after it was hijacked by users who posted messages on pictures of him, accusing him of rape.
Cosby was to appear on next Wednesday's "Late Show" but has since been replaced by Regis Philbin. A call to Cosby's spokesman has not yet been returned.
There could be any number of reasons why a booking is canceled, but when considered in light of Monday's social media fiasco, that may have also played a role here. According to reports, Cosby's camp insisted that he had backed out of the Latifah booking himself after the firestorm broke, although initial reports said that Latifah had made the decision.
Separately, a long op-ed by Barbara Bowman -- one of Cosby's accusers from over a decade ago -- appears in editions of today's Washington Post. In it, she repeats her accusations, beginning with this:
"In 2004, when Andrea Constand filed a lawsuit against Bill Cosby for sexual assault, her lawyers asked me to testify. Cosby had drugged and raped me, too, I told them. The lawyers said I could testify anonymously as a Jane Doe, but I ardently rejected that idea. My name is not Jane Doe. My name is Barbara Bowman, and I wanted to tell my story in court. In the end, I didn’t have the opportunity to do that, because Cosby settled the suit for an undisclosed amount of money."
Meanwhile, I have learned that NBC is continuing production on a Cosby sitcom, which could arrive as early as next year. NBC is not commenting on the status of the show, which will also star Mike O'Malley -- a multigenerational sitcom suffused with Cosby-esque observations of life and family. Prior to the current controversy, there were indications that this series had already advanced considerably in the production pipeline. Jennifer Salke, NBC Entertainment chief, described the series to reporters during the summer press tour this way: "It’s a multigenerational family show, so it’s very ensemble. Bill Cosby plays the patriarch of the family dispelling his classic wisdom on relationships, parenthood, everything in life, and it’s a great kind of 'him with three daughters with husbands and grandchildren.' It’s just a classic, big-extended-family sitcom."