ABC’s Stephen McPherson Not Happy with NBC’s Washington Grab


ABC entertainment president Stephen McPherson questioned whether NBC’s Ben Silverman, who earlier this month hired embattled actor Isaiah Washington for a guest spot on Bionic Woman and reportedly offered him a development deal, “was living in a cave” when he said he didn’t understand the circumstances surrounding Washington’s getting the shaft from ABC.

According to TV Guide, Silverman told reporters that he and Washington had conversations “before he became available.” Said Silverman: “When he told me he was available I was like, ‘You are? Wait, I don’t understand. What do you mean? You’re a huge star on a star television show. I don’t quite understand what had gone on there.”

McPherson’s reportedly not happy with the disregard or ignorance shown to the ABC situation: “If (Silverman) was in fact talking to him before he was available, that’s inducement to breach. So I don’t know, he’s either clueless or stupid.”

ABC Exec Calls NBC Clueless or Stupid” About Isaiah [tv guide]

Isaiah Washington Makes Bionic Leap to NBC [tr]
Isaiah Washington Grateful for Second Chances [tr]


  1. noah says

    Silverman made ABC executives look like fools in the industry. The reality is that Washington was a romantic star who is now a controversial figure. NBC swooped in and hired an actor who has a ton of free publicity and a loyal female fan base. From NBC’s perspective this only serves to bring more attention to the Bionic Woman.

    The ABC executives are left in a difficult position with their Grey’s Anatomy fan base who loved the “Christina & Burke” romance. There are websites devoted to them. Now the show has to find a replacement love interest for Sandra Oh and hope that there’s significant chemistry.

    Whether critics like it or not, there is a sizable number of people who do feel that Washington did everything to atone for his sin (apologies, anger management class, and PSAs). They put themselves in his position and would ask if they fucked up, does that mean they should never work again in their lives? That scares people and makes him a sympathetic figure, albeit tarnished. If ABC had fired him right away instead of making him go through anger management classes, public apologies, and PSAs, things would seen very differently.

    In reality, we live in a society where monsters like Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan and a bunch of others say far worse bigoted but coded things. They all get off without a scratch. Coulter can call John Edwards a “faggot” a public event but still find herself weeks later invited to speak on major news programs.

    Pat Buchanan can right incredibly racist bile that laments the demographic decline of white European Americans and how that will lead to the fall of Western Civilization. No one blinks at the absurdity of that claim. As if the millions of Americans of color aren’t Westerners or contributors to American success? Hello, most of the major forms of “American” music invented in the last 100+ years don’t have African roots: Blues, Rock, Jazz, Ragtime, etc. How many Chinese immigrants died in the construction of the Trans-Continental Railroad? Where would Silicon Valley be without the Asian engineers?

    The Republican Party for 40 years successfully used anti-black racism to win elections across the country. In 2004, the Republicans cranked up their anti-gay hate campaign into overdrive. And, today, you see members of the party fighting against hate crimes legislation and anti-workplace discrimination laws.

    Ultimately, most of the continued anti-Isaiah Washington efforts are wasted efforts because he’s not the real boogeyman who wants to oppress and deny rights to gay people. In the scheme of things, who’s a greater danger to gay people– Ann Coulter, the Family Research Council, Bill O’Reilly the GOP or Isaiah Washington? The first four have real power to affect your lives. Washington’s just a gnat. He’s not speaking out everyday with hopes to push you into second or third class citizenship.

  2. Derrick form Philly says

    Thank you, Noah, thank you. I don’t have the energy anymore, and I wouldn’t have had the thoughtfulness, accuracy, and clear-mindness shown in your comment.

  3. says

    To quote my all-time favorite movie line (from “Sunday Bloody Sunday”) “Here come those tired old tis again!”

    What should we do “Derrick” and “Noah”? Take up a collection for poor ol’ Isaiah?
    You guys are like a couple of battered housewives pleading to the cops to let their hubby go.

  4. Gregg says

    NOAH and DERRICK – do you really not see the difference between political commentary and workplace inappropriate behavior?

    Coulter, O’Reilly, et al are paid to make their opinions known, but they would probably not be hired to work in an entertainment venue if they alienated their coworkers by calling them slurs and choking them. Granted, they are disgusting human beings, and certainly far more dangerous than IW. But there is a difference.

    They are hired FOR their controversial views. IW, on the other hand, is hired for his (supposed) acting ability.

    It’s whole different ball o’ wax.

  5. noah says


    It’s not a question of taking up a collection for Washington. Obsessing about Washington is like worrying about a mosquito bite when Count Dracula and a legion of the undead are standing outside your front door.

    Again, Washington is small potatoes, trying desperately to hold onto his career. His mouth is shut for the rest of career. And for God’s sake, do you really think that Washington is part of any kind of organized anti-gay organization striving to deny GLBT people their rights?

    All of this time, energy, ink, and electrons are wasted on Washington instead of fighting against the real threat!

    AEvery frickin’ day the GOP generates more hate against GLBT folks and people of color to divide and conquer. How many little gay kids are terrorized in schools because the parents of their bullies teach them to hate? All those mommies and daddies are members of the FRC or vote solidly Republican and feel comfortable in their bigotry because the GOP continues to nurture their hate. Right?

    Washington does not have an entire TV network like Fox News that spreads anti-gay propaganda. Washington does not appear on major TV network news programs where he can repeatedly decry people of color or gays or say that anyone who isn’t a loyal GOP member is anti-American.

    How many religious leaders spout hateful anti-gay bullshit? Who has more influence to hurt little lesbian Maria or gay boy John–Donald Wildmon or Isaiah Washington?

    As if Washington is out there drumming the beat of hate against gays. He’s just another moron who shot his mouth off and got smacked down. Big deal: he has a 6-episode run on the Bionic Woman. He lost a $3 million/year contract on Grey’s Anatomy that probably would have run another 5 to 7 years. Considering how TV works, how likely is Washington to ever find another gig like that? How many actors find repeat success on more than one TV show? He’s out of the big time and reconciled to “Love Boat”-style guest starring episodes.

    So, no, I don’t think Washington deserves a collection plate. I just don’t see him as any kind of real threat. Dude’s learned his lesson and will be extra special careful for whatever career he has left.

    In the meantime, can we be realistic?! Do you really think Pat Robertson is less of a threat to the life and liberty of GLBT Americans than Isaiah Washington?

    You remember Robertson, the guy who supported the Apartheid regime in South Africa and considers GLBT folks an abomination. You know, Robertson, the guy who has his own media company that produces a daily TV program seen by millions around the world.

    Yep, Washington is worse than Donald Wildmon who launches boycotts against companies that provide gays with benefits or advertise in gay publications. Washington is worse than the idiot minister who successfully bullied Bill Gates (a man worth tens of billions of dollars) into dropping support of anti-discrimination in employment and housing laws.

    This Isaiah Washington crap is just a distraction to the real fight for Civil Rights. It’s like waisting time talking about Paris Hilton or Angelina Jolie when thousands of Americans are suffering because they don’t have health care.

    It’s like worrying about Britney Spears shaving her head when thousands of gay kids live in fear of being bullied or kicked out onto the streets by their ignorant parents.

    It’s like talking about a stupid TV actor when thousands of American soldiers are dying or being wounded in a senseless war while thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens are butchered by religious zealots.

    Yep, Isaiah Washington is the biggest, baddest threat to GLBT people in world. Didn’t you see him the other day sitting down with the folks in Lithuania, Poland, and Georgia to organize anti-gay attacks on Pride Parades. Washington was there in California to chide on the Slavic immigrants who beat to death a young brown-skinned gay man.

  6. dan says

    mcpherson sounds a little shrill, which might be desperation due to nbc and abc battling for third place in the ratings. NBC launched more promising and critically acclaimed shows like Heroes, 30 Rock, and Friday Night Lights last year, while ABC continued relying on ratings juggernauts like Grey’s and Lost which sagged a bit. Both networks introd and dropped a lot of shows this year, and both are doing a lot to try and find and regain audience share. Bionic Woman is getting some of the best early buzz of the year, thanks to the amazing work David Eick did in re-imagining Battlestar Gallactica. I’m sure Mcpherson is nervous as hell right now, he’s only been on the job for three years, and Disney is not happy with a number three position, while Silverman has only been on the job a few months, and still has that glow around him. In addition, it’s Silverman who is responsible for one of ABC’s biggest shows, Ugly Betty, and he won’t be a resource for McPherson to draw from any longer. Additionally McPherson is still pissed at Silverman for firing his buddy Kevin O’Reilly. This has nothing to do with Washington, and everything to do with the flop sweat associated with battling for a number three slot in a new world where Fox is number one. As an aside, to all of you who are saying “I won’t watch the Bionic Woman…” Good for you. That is the way to make a difference, rather than shrill ranting. Not that it matters. The gay audience isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. Nothing has ever made it or not made it based on that. But definitely stick to your guns. If you really think it stinks that an actor you don’t like for whatever reason is working, then boycott. At least you’ll feel good about yourselves.

  7. noah says


    Please, giving Coulter and O’Reilly a pass for their hate because they are hired for their “political commentary” is BS. Again, some jackass who shoots his mouth off at work and gets fired is zero, zilch, nada in comparison to the acceptably packaged racism and homophobia of pundits who make millions of dollars serving up hate.

    Coulter can call John Edwards a “faggot” and is still employed by every major news program to give her opinion. What the hell does this say to society? Her frickin’ opinion is a valid argument that deserves a voice on Meet the Press, Hardball, ThisWeek, or Fox News? Millions of little College Republicans love Coulter and consider her a “provocative,” smart, sexy intellectual instead of the hate-mongering fiend she is.

    So, it’s okay for Bill O’Reilly to tell millions of Americans that gay people are so horrible that it’s not right that they attend a baseball game where they might scare the kiddies?

    You’re kidding yourself. Washington has no desire to deprive you of your rights and liberties. He doesn’t push anti-gay rhetoric with zeal and the express desire to make you a third-class citizen. Washington’s an admitted doofus who will do everything in his power for the rest of his career to be gay-friendly.

    Meanwhile, as more time and effort is waisted fuming over Washington’s second-rate appearance on the Bionic Woman, the anti-gay hate machine of people with real power and influence chuckles and schemes to figure out other ways to dehumanize you.

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    “…tired tits again…”

    David, David, David: Noah has pectorals not tits, but I do. They’re a pair of my last great assets on my body (you can guess what the other great ASSet must be, if ya’ care to). Don’t you dare say anything to me about “tired tits”. And why would you mention “Sunday Bloody Sunday” anyway….telling our, I mean, your age. Of course, I saw it when it originally came out too. I was 3 years old.

    Isaiah’s work place behavior was appalling. He got punished for it, as he should. Then he got another job. It was the racist comments from some posters that pushed me over to Isaiah’s side. It has always been the racism I was responding to more than a love for Isaiah. After all, he aint no Reggie Bush.

  9. says

    “Noah” there’s a Sarah Siddons Society Award with your name on it.

    Isaiah Washington is the first entertainment figure in recorded memory to call a fellow actor a faggot and face consequences for it. Read Arthur laurents’ “Original Story By.” Back wehn “West Side Story” was in rehearsal Jerome Roberts called Larry Kert a faggot in front of the entire cast.

    Did anyone say word one? Nope.

    And to add injury to insult he fucked Kert’s boyfriend.

    So what’s the bar scene like in Lithuania dear?

  10. db says

    In what universe is Washington a “star”. He can’t open a movie and he won’t cause people to tune in to a tv show. He’s an actor but he’s hardly a star.

  11. Rey says

    Are bookies yet taking odds for when Washington assaults another coworker? McChokey has a long history of not being able to control his anger and acting out against others.

  12. Becks07 says

    I heard Rupert Everett was going on Gray’s Anatomy and that Donatella Versace was designed the wardrobe for Bionic Woman.

    Any truth to this???

  13. gabriel says

    The network didn’t fire him right away. How many months did things go on (while they were able to still film the rest of the season) before something went finally happened? They kept him on to keep their series going.

    If it really mattered to them, they would have dealt with it then. Him being let go after the fact means that ABC didn’t really care about anything but their own pocket. And now that NBC is doing the same thing, they question it?

    I’m not saying what Washington did was right. But it should have been dealt with then, not months later. ABC is no better than NBC here.

    And yah, I agree – there are far worse people that we need to be focusing on than Washington. Sad as it is, we have to pick our battles… and there is a big evil out there that we need to combat.

  14. yeahisaidit says

    …oh, LELE please…did you fear Noah’s post was about to trump your hand, hmmm? zounds! no choice but to smack down the dreaded RACE CARD…tsk, tsk….lol…

  15. yeahisaidit says

    …or, wait LELE…did you mean “NIGGA” because you know that’s a different card altogether, right? you simply must get with the program dear…oh, and call you what in the morning hon?

  16. Derrick from Philly says

    “Waiting for Leland to be called racist…”

    We don’t to…’cause that aint Leland, not the Leland whose postings I agree with 99% of the time. That’s some other white ” ” using Leland’s name. Tricky motha’….

    David, at our ages, it’s very dangerous to start sipping before noon.

  17. Rey says

    It’s so much nicer to assume somebody is drunk than flat-out stupid.

    But of course it’s also nicer to assume somebody is flat-out stupid rather than intentionally obfuscating issues just to be a contrarian.

  18. noah says

    Uh, David, I don’t care how old you are. Age and wisdom have little to do with each other. I also don’t care if you drink or not. Allegedly, Osama bin Laden as Muslim isn’t a drinker. I don’t think lack of thirst for the grape has imbued Osama with greatness. Frankly, the world would probably be a safer place if he found happiness in Jim Beam than false piety and bloodlust.

    As for two gay guys calling each other “faggot,” doesn’t that happen all the time on this site or in the bars?

    Mel Gibson is as about as racist and homophobic as you can get but ABC/Disney, the same people who fired Washington, were more than happy to finance Gibson’s latest film and give him a PrimeTime special on ABC. So, let’s drop this pretense that somehow Washington is getting any special treatment. The same executives who fired Washington were only too happy to promote Gibson and his film “Apocalypto” to make a couple hundred million dollars in box office and DVD sales.

    And no, two wrongs to don’t make a right. Washington and Gibson are both pukes. However, I do think Washington is probably more sincere in his remorse.

    That said, David, it’s nice to see how easily you overlook focusing on the LGBT community’s real enemies. You have all this rage and anger against a doofus like Washington but don’t give two sh1ts about Wildmon, Coulter, or the other a$$-wipes who work every day to make life a little worse for readers of this site.

    Instead of directing personal attacks against me, why not direct your responses to issues?

    Again: who’s more dangerous to the safety and future of gays–Donald Wildmon or Isaiah Washington? Who’s done more to create hatred against gays or people of color–Rush Limbaugh or Isaiah Washington?

    Get it? Washington’s an idiot but a fangless one.

  19. noah says


    Shockingly, not all gay men like being referred to with feminine pronouns or adjectives especially when doing so is used to enforce a sexist mentality that says there’s something wrong with being a girl or having feminine attributes. You know, it’s sorta like when Ann Coulter uses the phrase “girly men” to insult her male opponents because we all know that there’s something wrong with a person having a vagina or resembling a woman in manner or voice, right? It’s Coulter’s way of using code words to call a man a “faggot” without having to do so explicitly. After all everyone knows gay men are weak especially if they’re kinda feminine.

    So, in the future, be more careful when you refer to someone as “dear” otherwise people might think you and Ann Coulter have more in common than you’d like to admit.

  20. silverskreen says


    I seriously hope you put this much energy into voicing your opinion in protest against said “other evils”, such as Coulter and Wildmon, Gibson, etc… Because, frankly, these long winded tirades of yours seem a bit much for a blog none of these aforementioned people read or care about.

    Washington’s comments may be “Fangless” to you, but as you can very well see, not to others.

    I for one, am sick and tired of hearing about the man — but this constant defense of him is even more tiresome. Just because there are bigger fish to fry doesn’t mean this one shouldn’t be skewered. You don’t want to participate? Fair enough…don’t.

    Just do us all the favor and do your grandstanding somewhere more suitable to your talents.

    Also, if you’ll notice, everytime there’s an article about Ann Coulter, there are always a considerable amount of comments left in outrage. Hell, there’s even an ad for her column on this blog, which boggles my mind, but never the less there it is. Are you in a fit about that? I’d love to hear it.

  21. Gregg says

    NOAH – Dear lord your comments are far too long to even waste time reading. But I in no way gave Coulter et al a “pass”. I simply pointed out that the comparison you drew is apples vs. oranges and therefore inapplicable.

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