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Greg Spottiswood, the creator, co-showrunner and executive producer of CBS legal drama All Rise, has been fired by producers Warner Bros. Television following a probe into his professional conduct brought on by allegations of racial insensitivity and a writers room revolt.
Spottiswood’s agency, APA, has also dropped him as a client.
“Warner Bros. Television has relieved All Rise executive producer Greg Spottiswood of his duties, effective immediately,” the studio said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Executive producer Dee Harris-Lawrence will continue to serve as showrunner of the series, working closely with fellow executive producers Michael M. Robin and Len Goldstein. We remain committed, at all times, to providing a safe and inclusive working environment on our productions and for all employees.”
APA added in a separate statement, “Greg Spottiswood is no longer a client. APA is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion at the highest levels, and we stand with our clients and industry partners in our commitment to furthering that mission.”
In August, The New York Times reported that staff writers had clashed with Spottiswood over how All Rise dealt with issues of race and gender. The newspaper reported that five of the original seven writers had quit the show in late 2019, including three senior writers of color, among them Shernold Edwards and co-showrunner Sunil Nayar.
A courtroom drama, All Rise stars Simone Missick as an idealistic Black judge newly appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The show focuses on the cases and lives of prosecutors, judges and public defenders. The writers who left the show told the Times that Spottiswood ignored or rejected attempts to have Black characters speak in an authentic way or have storylines that weren’t racially offensive or veered toward stereotypes. “We had to do so much behind the scenes to keep these scripts from being racist and offensive,” Edwards told the Times.
“It became clear to me, when I left the show, that I was only there because I’m the brown guy,” Nayar added in an interview with the Times. “Greg hired me to be his brown guy.”
All Rise was renewed for a second season in May; it premiered on CBS in November.
Deadline was the first to report news of Spottiswood’s dismissal.
March 25, 7:55 a.m. Updated with statement from APA.
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