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Cosby shows pulled amid sex claims


Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

NBC has scrapped a planned Bill Cosby comedy and US channel TV Land will stop showing reruns of The Cosby Show after another woman came forward claiming that the comic had sexually assaulted her.

NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks said the Cosby sitcom "is no longer under development". A TV Land representative said the reruns will stop airing immediately for an indefinite time.

The NBC sitcom and Cosby Show reruns joined a Netflix Cosby standup comedy special, which was indefinitely postponed.

They occurred a day after model Janice Dickinson, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, became the third woman in recent weeks to allege she had been assaulted by Cosby.

All the claims are strongly denied by the comedian's lawyer and Cosby has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations.

The developments, which involve allegations that were widely reported a decade ago as well as new accusations, have gravely damaged the 77-year-old comedian's reputation as America's TV dad at a time when he was launching a comeback.

A year ago, a stand-up special - his first in 30 years - aired on Comedy Central and drew a hefty audience of two million viewers. His prospective new series was announced by NBC in January.

Former Pennsylvania prosecutor Bruce L Castor Jr, who investigated a woman's claims that Cosby had sexually assaulted her in 2004, said he decided not to prosecute because he felt there was not enough evidence.

"I wrote my opinion in such a way as I thought conveyed to the whole world that I thought he had done it, he had just gotten away with it because of a lack of evidence," the former Montgomery County district lawyer said.

If Cosby had not been co-operative with the investigation, Mr Castor said he "probably would have arrested him".

Cosby was asked about the growing furore when the comedian was promoting an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art that features his African-American art collection alongside African artworks.

When he was questioned on November 6, the story involved long-circulated accusations from several women and recent criticism from comedian Hannibal Buress. Cosby declined to comment, saying: "We don't answer that."

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Since then, two women have come forward publicly to accuse him of sexual assault, Netflix, TV Land and NBC cut ties and an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman was axed.

The NBC project was in the very early stages, without a script or commitment to production. But it would have brought Cosby back to the network where he had reigned in the 1980s with the top-rated The Cosby Show.

Cosby has continued working as a stand-up comic and has at least 35 performances scheduled throughout the US and Canada through May 2015. None of the performances has been cancelled.

National Artists Corporation, which is promoting part of the tour, said it will not be cancelling any shows.

Dickinson told Entertainment Tonight that Cosby had given her red wine and a pill when they were together in a Lake Tahoe, California, hotel room in 1982.

When she woke up the next morning: "I wasn't wearing my pyjamas and I remembered before I passed out I had been sexually assaulted by this man."

Cosby's lawyer, Martin Singer, said Dickinson's charges were "false and outlandish" and were contradicted by Dickinson herself in a published autobiography.

Mr Singer said the first Cosby heard of any assault allegation from Dickinson came in the interview and suggested the actress was "seeking publicity to bolster her fading career".

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