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Following an investigation into multiple claims that top showrunner Peter Lenkov created a toxic work environment, CBS has fired the Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver and Magnum P.I. showrunner, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Lenkov was dismissed despite having a year left on his rich overall deal with CBS TV Studios, which produces MacGyver and Magnum P.I.
Sources say Lenkov had been the subject of at least three complaints alleging that he was manipulative and abusive during Hawaii Five-0‘s 10-season run and on the current hit MacGyver (with the latter heading into its fifth season in the fall). He allegedly had a “boys club” that included favored male employees who regularly gathered, smoked cigars and inappropriately judged the appearance of women in Hawaii. Others allege that he accommodated special work-schedule requests from male actors without offering similar consideration to actresses on Hawaii Five-0. The series, a reboot of the iconic procedural, concluded its run in April.
“It was a hard place to be a woman on that set,” one source said of the former Oahu set of Hawaii Five-0.
Behind the scenes, sources allege Lenkov would routinely talk down to writers — particularly women and people of color. In one incident, he allegedly mocked a disabled fan and, after a writer objected to his behavior, attempted to have her fired.
“He isn’t racist or sexist or classist singularly — it’s all of it,” says an insider. “He’s anti-woman, anti-POC, anti-gay, and everything you’d expect. But he’d also torture straight white men if he felt like it.”
Lenkov is one of CBS’ top showrunners, having successfully rebooted Hawaii Five-0 into a global syndicated hit as well as reviving procedurals Magnum P.I. and MacGyver. The latter two series are set to air back-to-back on Fridays in the fall; Lenkov is one of a small handful of showrunners to control a night of programming.
Hawaii Five-0 made headlines in July 2017 when original series stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park made the shocking decision to depart the CBS drama after filming its first 168 episodes. Both actors, who had appeared in all seven seasons as series regulars, asked for salary parity with co-stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. CBS and CBS Television Studios could not come to terms that worked for the two stars. Sources at the time noted that the duo’s offers came in at less than those of O’Loughlin and Caan, who both had a rich cut of the show’s lucrative backend.
Lenkov is the latest CBS showrunner to be dismissed as the media titan continues to address its own culture issues. Brad Kern, the former showrunner of NCIS: New Orleans, was dropped by CBS TV Studios after multiple sources on the show alleged he harassed and unfairly penalized women and made racially insensitive statements. CBS comedy Fam let showrunner Bob Kushell go after finding that he used “inappropriate language” on the set of the 2019 midseason show. CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery dismissed showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts amid allegations of abusive behavior, along with budget overruns. Vinnie Favale, a CBS Studios executive, was placed on leave in 2018 after allegations of misconduct.
CBS also fired 60 Minutes exec producer and former news division head Jeff Fager after he sent a threatening text message to a CBS reporter who was covering sexual misconduct allegations against him. In 2017, the network dropped CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose amid allegations of sexual harassment. CBS also was rocked by the September 2018 departure of CEO Leslie Moonves, which took place a month after The New Yorker published allegations of harassment and abuse by the top executive.
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