Ousted NBC entertainment chief Jeff Gaspin called to protest that the bathroom he built on the Universal lot was a lot less expensive than we reported.
“Please stop writing that it was a $200,000 bathroom,” he protested. “The bills came to $60,000 for the bathroom. We had to restructure some offices, make a conference room, create a bathroom – it all came in a little under $200,000.”
Gaspin was understandably perturbed, since WaxWord wrote six months ago that part of the reason NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke let him go was the bathroom extravagance. Our story today about Comcast building communal bathrooms for senior executives at 30 Rockefeller Center did not resonate with him.
Furthermore, Gaspin never even wanted the bathroom.
“I was perfectly happy and willing to take an existing office,” he said. “It was management’s preference that I stay on the 11th floor, where I could be on the 11th floor with other team members. They preferred to build me an office.”
An NBCU spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment when asked by TheWrap.
Gaspin acknowledged that even $60,000 was probably a lot for a bathroom. But the fact that the bathroom was huge was also not his fault. “It had to be wheelchair accessible,” he protested.
Ok, now we get it.
For the record no one, including Gaspin, had ever called to dispute the story until today. Indeed, Gaspin and NBC declined to comment on it at the time.
But smart as Gaspin is, he still seems not to grasp the message that his construction project represented at a crucial moment of ownership change — just as NBC remained in fourth place, mired in the Conan mess and stuck to the ill-fated star of failed executive Jeff Zucker.
Gaspin denied that his bathroom had anything to do with it “in any way, shape or form.”
So then why didn’t Burke keep him on? After all, the two executives knew each other well, and previously had a good relationship.
Gaspin agreed and said he didn’t really know. “I can only say what was said to me by a close producer friend who summed it up in a comical way,” said Gaspin. “’When you buy a new house you change the furniture.’”
He added: “I don’t know the deciding factor. I was part of the management team that was there. I think they wanted to start fresh.”
But it definitely, positively wasn’t that bathroom.