TV Industry

'Designing Women' Creator Calls Les Moonves 'Bullying Misogynist,' Says He Blacklisted Her

The ousted CBS chief used his power for evil.
'Designing Women' Creator Calls Les Moonves 'Bullying Misogynist,' Says He Blacklisted Her
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Entrepreneur Staff
Special Projects Director
3 min read

Stories coming out of the #MeToo movement are getting more and more insidious.

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of the hit CBS shows Designing Women and Evening Shade, penned a scathing guest column for The Hollywood Reporter in which she says recently ousted CEO Les Moonves was a “truly immoral” and “misogynist” boss who despised her feminist perspective ever since he took the reigns of CBS in 1995.

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"People asked me for years, 'What happened to you?'" she writes, "Les Moonves happened to me." Bloodworth-Thomason said he effectively blacklisted her for seven years. The Daily News breaks down how he did it.

“I was never sexually harassed or attacked by Les Moonves. My encounters were much more subtle, engendering a different kind of destruction,” she wrote in the column published Wednesday.

Bloodworth-Thomason described how she scored a $50 million writing and producing contract with CBS in 1992, thanks largely the strength of “Designing Women,” which ran from 1986 until 1993.

She said the deal envisioned she would create five new series for the network and included “hefty penalties” for each pilot not picked up.

When Moonves took over a couple years into her deal, she felt a sudden shift in the network’s culture, she wrote.

“I was immediately concerned when I heard that Mr. Moonves was rumored to be a big fan of topless bars,” she said.

She claimed Moonves hated “Designing Women” and her character’s “loud-mouthed speeches” and systematically shot down all of her pilot ideas. He even turned down requests from Bette Midler and Huey Lewis to pursue projects with her, she wrote.

Designing Women was one of the few shows on a major network at the time to be almost entirely focused on female characters, each of whom had a strong, independent voice.

Related: Facing Down Doubters and Empowering Others

Bloodworth-Thomason discusses in the column how CBS had a history of female-focused programming, starting with I Love Lucy (which inspired her to start writing comedy) through The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Maude all the way to Murphy Brown -- that is, until Moonves took over.

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.”) 

Bloodworth-Thomason concludes by pointing out that her former boss may never be punished "in the way that he deserves," and that he will almost certainly not go to jail. She did, however, praise all the women who have stepped forward to risk their careers to make sure “a man like this is finally gone.”

Good riddance.

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