The creator of two classic CBS shows of the late ’80s and early 90’s, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, has written a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter detailing her experiences with Leslie Moonves at the network. It’s not a pretty picture.
Bloodworth-Thomason created “Designing Women” in 1986 and “Evening Shade” in 1990.
She writes about Moonves: “Like a lot of women in Hollywood, I am happy to dance on his professional grave. And not just any dance — this will be the Macarena, the rumba, the cha-cha and the Moonwalk. You get the idea.
“I was never sexually harassed or attacked by Les Moonves. My encounters were much more subtle, engendering a different kind of destruction. In 1992, I was given the largest writing and producing contract in the history of CBS. It was for $50 million, involving five new series with hefty penalties for each pilot not picked up.”
Bloodworth-Thomason’s big CBS deal had been made by then-CBS Chairman Howard Stringer and President Jeff Sagansky. In 1994 “Evening Shade” ended its run on the network. In 1995 she produced a new pilot for Moonves, who had succeeded Sagansky.
Writes Bloodworth-Thomason: “As soon as the pilot was completed, Moonves informed me that it would not be picked up. I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years.
“During that period, because my contract was so valuable, I continued trying to win over Moonves. And he continued turning down every pilot I wrote.”
Soon, she writes: “I began to hear from female CBS employees about his mercurial, misogynist behavior, with actresses being ushered in and out of his office. His mantra, I was told, was, ‘Why would I wanna cast ’em if I don’t wanna fuck ’em?’ And he was an angry bully who enjoyed telling people, ‘I will tear off the top of your head and piss on your brain!'”
Later in her column Bloodworth-Thomason writes: “For years, Moonves loaded up the network with highly profitable, male-dominated series, always careful to stir in and amply reward an occasional actress, like the fabulous Patti Heaton or the irresistible Kaley Cuoco. But mostly, he presided over a plethora of macho crime shows featuring a virtual genocide of dead naked hotties in morgue drawers, with sadistic female autopsy reports, ratcheted up each week. (‘Is that a missing breast implant, lieutenant?’ ‘Yes sir, we also found playing cards in her uterus.’) On the day I officially parted company with CBS, the same day Mr. Moonves said he would only pay a tiny fraction of the penalties, my incredulous agent asked what he should tell me. Mr. Moonves replied, ‘Tell her to go fuck herself!'”
To read Bloodworth-Thomason’s complete essay in THR, please click here.