In Living Color‘s main man, executive producer Keenen Ivory Wayans, quipped to reporters before his show on Super Bowl night that Fox would probably have ”snipers planted throughout the set.” ”There will be,” Wayans assured, ”(seven-second) delay buttons all around.” It turned out the buttons weren’t used, but at least one exec apparently wishes they had been. Said Fox chairman Barry Diller later, ”I’m not so sure they shouldn’t have pushed the delay button.” During one sketch, ”Men on Football,” Blaine (Damon Wayans) ad-libbed a line to Antoine (David Alan Grier) that referred to Richard Gere’s rumored activities with a gerbil, which Gere recently denied to Barbara Walters. The terrible twosome went on to suggest that Olympic track star Carl Lewis is gay — an assertion Lewis has repeatedly denied.
While Gere has had no comment, Lewis’ attorney, David Greifinger, thinks that in calling his client ”Miss Lewis” and saying he was hiding from ”his true self,” the show went completely out of bounds. ”I found the sketch disgusting,” Greifinger says. ”It blindsided us. Fox will be hearing from us; I’ll leave it at that.”
But Brad Turell, Fox’s senior vice president of programming, defends the gags: ”The show was definitely raucous — in the spirit of In Living Color. We weren’t trying to offend anyone. But the show is a parody — no one is safe. Even Fox execs.” Ouch!