10:40am PT by Maureen Ryan
Veteran CBS Producer Brad Kern Fired Amid Abuse Claims (Exclusive)
Brad Kern, the former showrunner of NCIS: New Orleans, has been fired by producers CBS Television Studios.
"We have ended Brad Kern's role as consulting producer on NCIS: New Orleans and his overall deal with the studio," a spokesperson for CBS Television Studios said in a statement provided exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter. Kern's termination was effective Monday. Representatives for Kern did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
After being appointed the drama's showrunner in early 2016, Kern was the subject of two human resources investigations. In a December story, multiple NCIS: New Orleans sources said they told CBS HR that Kern harassed and unfairly penalized women, repeatedly bullied a nursing mother and made racially insensitive statements, among other allegations.
CBS TV Studios signed Kern to a new two-year deal in the spring, but not long after that, he was demoted from showrunner to consulting producer. In June, he was suspended. That month, THR broke the news that an outside counsel had begun a third investigation into allegations of harassment, unprofessional conduct and vindictive behavior by Kern.
That investigation was not limited to allegations contained in the previous two HR inquiries. The outside counsel hired to conduct the probe, Kate Gold of Drinker Biddle, was allowed to investigate claims of harassment or abuse that might have occurred at shows Kern worked on in the past, such as Beauty and the Beast, Human Target or the original Charmed.
In an August story, multiple sources said they had spoken with Gold, or had asked her to refer to previous statements they had made to CBS HR. Multiple sources tell THR that Gold wrapped up her inquiry sometime in the past few weeks.
In September, CBS was rocked by the departure of CEO Leslie Moonves, which took place a month after The New Yorker published a second major story about an alleged pattern of harassment and abuse by the executive. Days after Moonves stepped down, Jeff Fager, the executive in charge of 60 Minutes, whose alleged harassment was also detailed in the August New Yorker story, left the network.
Several former NCIS: New Orleans employees reached Monday said that they believe Kern would still be working at CBS if Moonves were still in charge.
"This is the domino effect," one former NCIS: New Orleans employee said. "I hope all the networks take a much closer look at who they give power to and how those people treat their employees, and pay serious attention to who gets propped up and protected, even if they harass people or behave inappropriately."
Another person who worked for Kern at NCIS: New Orleans said, "My thoughts are with everyone who had worked for Mr. Kern who was unjustly fired, made miserable until they quit or otherwise endured unpleasantness. I hope that this signals the end of the era of showrunning he represented."