Ghen Maynard Developed 'Survivor' For CBS, Claims He Was Fired For Age And Race

Was he ousted for being over 40?

Who Is Ghen Maynard? New Details On CBS Exec Behind 'Survivor' Who Claims He Was Fired Over Age And Race Getty

CBS was supposed to clean up its act after former network head Les Moonves left in disgrace in 2018. Moonves spent 12 years building the network into a broadcast powerhouse but behind-the-scenes, he was engaging in serious sexual misconduct. But now a network executive says CBS is still a 'boys club for white men' and that he was fired over his race and possibly his age. 

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Ghen Maynard worked at CBS on and off starting in the 1990s and was responsible for some of the most pioneering reality shows the network ever aired. In fact, he was the one who championed a little show called Survivor (maybe you've heard of it?) that would go on to be one of the most groundbreaking television shows in history. He had been working on independent projects when Moonves lured him back in 2016 in order to build up unscripted programming for the network. 

Now, Maynard has been let go and he thinks it has to do with his age and his Asian heritage and he's ready to take the network to court over the claims. The network denies all of his claims, saying his exit was simply a business decision.


1. Ghen Maynard was a visionary at the beginning of the reality tv era.

If you haven't heard of Maynard himself, you've definitely heard of his work. The longtime network executive was part of the teams that created shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, the U.S. version of Big Brother and America's Next Top Model during his first tenure at CBS. Following the success of those shows, he took an offer to be head of development for scripted programming at NBC from 2004-2006, where he developed titles like My Name is Earl. He was lured back to CBS as Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming from 2006-2008, according to his bio on CBS's website

Post-2008, Maynard spent a number of years doing independent projects before coming back to CBS in 2016 as Senior Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming. His task was to develop new unscripted programming across all CBS platforms. Some of his recent shows include #BH90210 and Kids Say the Darnedest Things with Tiffany Haddish.

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2. His job got cut as part of the CBS/Viacom merger.

His time at CBS is coming to an unexpected end, however. Maynard claims he found out in early October that his job — and his whole department — was being eliminated. He was told by CBS Studios president David Stapf that his last day would be December 2, 2019. That date roughly coincides with the closing of the merger between CBS and Viacom.


3. He thinks there's more to it that just business.

While a shake-up as big as the CBS/Viacom deal always comes with layoffs and corporate restructuring, Maynard thinks his elimination is something else entirely. He lays out his claims in an age and race discrimination suit he has brought against the company. He says he noticed a lot of the people receiving notices of termination were over 40. There have been no reports to back up Maynard's claim, however, so we can't make a judgment about who all have been let go in preparation for the merger.


The lawsuit alleges discrimination.

4. CBS has had a lot of issues since Les Moonves was forced out.

The merger isn't the only reason for CBS to potentially want to make radical leadership changes. In 2018, longtime CBS head Les Moonves stepped down after reports that he harassed women broke in The New YorkerMoonves's ouster led to some soul searching at the network and the remaining leadership promised changes in culture. While Maynard may not see himself as part of the problem, he was hired by Moonves in 2016. 

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5. Maynard says he was the only non-white executive at his level of the company.

The Hollywood Reporter also points out that even in the year after Moonves left, diversity hadn't found its way to the C-suite. Maynard was the only non-white executive at the top levels of the company. He saw his removal as having a racial bias due to his Japanese descent. "Since Mr. Moonves' departure, CBS has become a radically different place," states the complaint. "Despite blaming all of its problems on Mr. Moonves and claiming that it has taken steps to improve race and gender issues at the Company, today's CBS 'leaders,' those making the key decisions on such issues are all white males, whose decisions belie CBS' self-serving rhetoric."


Maynard even details situations he experienced personally, including meetings where minority staff was expected to sit at the back of the room. He claimed he had heard whispers that other executives felt threatened by him, as well. 

Maynard was the only person of color at the executive level.


6. Maynard was subject to a sex-discimination investigation. 

In fact, Maynard has his own discrimination investigation in his file at CBS. Allegedly, he asked a white, male writer on the #BH90210 team to speak up in a meeting. Maynard says the writer was quiet and he wanted to encourage him to participate but a woman on the same team said she felt passed over due to the incident. The legal complaint states that "CBS subjected Mr. Maynard to a biased, sham 'investigation' into a false and ludicrous allegation that he mistreated a female co-worker on the writing team when he asked a quiet male employee on the same team for his opinions during a meeting," states the complaint.

The result of the investigation was that Maynard hadn't violated any rules but he was taken off the show anyway. 

7. CBS, in turn, says Maynard's allegations are all false.

Unsurprisingly, CBS says there is no truth to anything Maynard is alleging. They're sticking to the story that everything happening is due to the big merger and isn't about age or race. A statement from the network says, "Mr. Maynard's contract was not renewed due to the elimination of the studio’s alternative programming department. The claims in this suit are completely without merit, and we will defend against it vigorously."


The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, November 25. No word yet on when it will go before a judge. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.