When Bill Cosby was convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault, an entire online campaign arose, in response, that claimed that this was the culmination of a decades-long takedown of the now-disgraced comedian, who — at one point — was allegedly scheduled to buy NBC.
The origins of this bogus claim stemmed from an article in the New York Times that was published on October 29, 1992. The article had a sensational headline that read “THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Bill Cosby Trying to Buy NBC From G.E.”
But a closer look at the article reveals that this “explosive big claim” was little more than an unsubstantiated rumor, and one that was not likely true.
Norman Brokaw, the late agent for Bill Cosby, was the one who “confirmed” the details to the paper, claiming that Cosby was planning to make an offer to G.E. to purchase NBC.
But while Cosby’s net worth was a respectable $300 million, NBC’s asking price was $4 billion.
So, to circumvent this problem, according to Vanity Fair, Cosby was willing to enter into what’s called an equity deal for NBC. In a nutshell, Cosby teamed up with Robert “Bobby” Wussler, who has previously served as president of CBS Sports, to offer a deal to NBC with the backing of Goldman Sachs to Brandon Tartikoff, who was the then-president of the network.
There’s one very important element of this deal, however: Cosby himself would not be investing any of his own money in it.
What’s more, Tartikoff declined the offer not once, but twice.
Finally, according to some rumors on the internet, the reason Bill Cosby wasn’t “allowed” to buy NBC is that “black men aren’t allowed to own television networks.” That, however, is immediately debunked by the fact that media mogul Byron Allen — owner of Entertainment Studios — successfully made a deal to purchase The Weather Channel from its former owners, The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast/NBCUniversal. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal was well within the billion-dollar range.
As soon as the four zeros went up – my memory went to a black and white photo of Steve Van Buren running with the football in the snow. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles for winning SuperBowl LII #EaglesSuperBowlChamps#PhiladelphiaEagles #RIPSteveVanBuren pic.twitter.com/OCIzIk5kcW
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) February 5, 2018
Writing for Very Smart Brothas, Panama Jackson points out that there were no invisible, external forces conspiring together to bring Bill Cosby down because he dared to buy NBC. Rather, Cosby was the engineer behind his own undoing.
“He made choices to abuse women. He put his legacy in jeopardy thinking that he was immune from justice. He thought they’d never say anything. He was wrong. And there are people who are very upset about this. And that confuses me.”
— thepeoplevsbillcosby (@pplvsbillcosby) June 8, 2017
In short, the claim that Bill Cosby was going to buy NBC is patently, and unequivocally, false.