CBS may have canceled Burt Reynolds’ sitcom, Evening Shade, but prior to pulling the plug, the network gave the star a $4 million loan.
Given the network’s $411 million annual operating income, the loan is relatively modest, but it has raised the hackles of at least one CBS shareholder. “They shouldn’t be lending money to talent. If he wants a loan, he should go to a bank, not a corporation,” says Evelyn Y. Davis. When Davis raised the issue with CBS chairman Laurence Tisch at the May 11 stockholders’ meeting, Tisch defended the loan and reported that the money was borrowed at a reasonable 8 percent interest rate. A source, however, dismisses Davis as a gadfly who buys shares of stock in numerous corporations simply to complain at annual meetings. A spokesman for Reynolds refuses to comment. The network also had no comment.