Reality TV Exec Who Launched ‘Survivor’ Sues CBS for Wrongful Termination, Discrimination

CBS says Ghen Maynard’s suit is “completely without merit, and we will defend against it vigorously”

Ghen Maynard CBS

Ghen Maynard, former CBS TV Studios senior executive vice president of alternative programming, filed a wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuit against the company in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, saying he was fired on Oct. 2 because of his race and age.

Maynard, who is of Japanese origin, is known for launching hit series including “Survivor,” the U.S. version of “Big Brother,” “The Amazing Race” and “America’s Next Top Model.” He most recently worked on CBS TV Studios’ “BH90210” and “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

According to Maynard’s lawsuit, which was obtained by TheWrap, “a simple review of CBS Studios’ executive leadership roster” shows that he is “the only minority leader in senior leadership.” The reality exec also says CBS has “mistreated” him for some time, “particularly since the departure of [ousted CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves], who supported Mr. Maynard.”

Additionally, the exec accuses CBS of conducting a “biased, sham investigation into a false and ludicrous allegation that he mistreated a female coworker on the writing team when he asked a quiet male employee on the same team for his opinions during a meeting as opposed to asking for the opinions of the complaining female coworker, who had already spoken extensively, allegedly did not say hello to the same female coworker during an elevator ride ‘in the same way’ that he said hello to male coworkers, and asked a question relevant to the funding of writer positions on the team.”

“Mr. Maynard’s contract was not renewed due to the elimination of the studio’s alternative programming department,” CBS Television Studios said in a statement Monday. “The claims in this suit are completely without merit, and we will defend against it vigorously.”

An individual with knowledge tells TheWrap that Maynard was not terminated, but his contract was not renewed. The insider says the role of CBS TV Studios’ alternative programming department is “going away,” and its one remaining show, “Kids Say The Darndest Things,” will be transitioned to the current programming department. If alternative producers bring in new projects, the individual says the development teams will shepherd those projects.

In 2016, the now-ousted Moonves invited Maynard to return to CBS to lead the newly launched unscripted department at CBS TV Studios, where he has been in charge of overseeing the development of unscripted content for broadcast and cable networks, streaming services and digital platforms.

Maynard began his career at CBS in 1997 in the drama development department, where he was promoted to vice president before moving into alternative development. He led the network’s reality programming from 2000-2004, then left CBS for NBC, where he was executive vice president of primetime development from 2004-2006.

The exec returned to CBS from 2006-2008, this time as executive vice president of alternative programming and entertainment content for new media for the CBS Paramount Network Television Group.

Before his most recent return to CBS, Maynard was an independent producer, selling and producing pilots and series, and/or consulted on projects at several networks and production companies, including AMC, CBS, The CW and TNT.