Warner Bros. TV has relieved Spottiswood of his duties as co-showrunner and executive producer on the CBS legal drama, effective immediately, following an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct in the series’ writers room, including the use of offensive language, reports Deadline. Spottiswood's firing comes seven months after a New York Times story detailed a "writers mutiny" in which five of the seven Season 1 writers -- including the three highest-ranking writers of color led by co-showrunner Sunil Nayar -- exited in late 2019 after clashes with Spottiswood over the series’ depiction of minorities. The controversy was notable because All Rise was a rare network show starring a Black female, Simone Missick. “We had to do so much behind the scenes to keep these scripts from being racist and offensive,” one of the former writers, Shernold Edwards, who is Black, told The Times. Former Revenge showrunner Nayar, who is Indian-American, said: “It became clear to me, when I left the show, that I was only there because I’m the brown guy. Greg hired me to be his brown guy.” In response, Warner Bros. TV conducted a review and “identified areas for improvement, and implemented procedures and protocols in response to the findings,” including the hiring of a corporate coach, a Black woman, to work with Spottiswood. In Season 2, Spottiswood was also paired with Dee Harris-Lawrence, a Black woman who was showrunner of OWN's David Makes Man. But, reports Deadline's Nellie Andreeva, "the climate in the (now virtual) writers room did not improve in Season 2, and some writers were reportedly offended by remarks Spottiswood allegedly made that were perceived as insensitive, especially for the writers of color. Complaints about Spottiswood’s behavior led to a new investigation by Warner Bros. TV, which resulted in his dismissal. Spottiswood’s exit comes after the All Rise writers room had finished work on Season 2. Harris-Lawrence will serve as showrunner for the remainder of production and post-production on Season 2, which is currently filming Episode 15 of its 17-episode order. CBS has not made a renewal decision on most of its series, including All Rise, for next season." Spottiswood has yet to speak out on his firing.
TOPICS: All Rise, CBS, Dee Harris-Lawrence, Greg Spottiswood, Shernold Edwards, Simone Missick, Sunil Nayar, Warner Bros. TV