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Designing Women Creator Details Years-Long Fight With Moonves Where He Kept Her Shows Off the Air

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. Photo: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for GLAAD

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of Designing Women, claims she had a years-long battle with ousted CBS chief Les Moonves, and that he effectively banned her from the network even after she created hits for them. In a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, Bloodworth-Thomason describes how she was given a $50 million writing and producing contract with the network in 1992, but when Moonves took over in 1995, she says he shot down her pilots, which often took a feminist perspective on the world. “Over the years, even when an actress managed to get one of my scripts through an agent, the deal would immediately be killed,” Bloodworth-Thomason writes, saying that Moonves also turned down Bette Midler when she wanted to work with her, and canceled Huey Lewis’s contract when he did: “People asked me for years, ‘Where have you been? What happened to you?’ Les Moonves happened to me.”

Bloodworth-Thomason also says she was aware of Moonves’s alleged harassment and sexual assault, claiming that he invited an actress to lunch, and “off the cancellation of her iconic detective show, the star began pitching a new one.” “He informed her that she was too old to be on his network,” Bloodworth-Thomason claims. “She began to cry and stood up to go. He stood up too, taking her by the shoulders and telling her, ‘I can’t let you leave like this.’ She reacted, suddenly touched. Then he shoved his tongue down her throat. I know this happened because the star is the person who told me.”

“The truth is, Les Moonves may never be punished in the way that he deserves,” Bloodworth-Thomason writes. “He will almost certainly never go to jail. And he has already made hundreds of millions of dollars during his highly successful and truly immoral, bullying, misogynist reign.”