Peter Lenkov, best known locally for heading up the reboots of Hawaii-based TV shows “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.,” has been fired by CBS following multiple allegations that he created and allowed a toxic work environment to develop around the production of those shows.
Lenkov held credits as executive producer, creator and writer of “Five-0” and “Magnum,” and was the showrunner for those programs, a position that gave him overall control over the vision and direction of the show. He also held the position for “MacGyver,” another nostalgic reboot.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, complaints against Lenkov included allegations that he “had a ‘boys club’ that included favored male employees who regularly gathered, smoked cigars and inappropriately judged the appearance of women in Hawaii,” that he granted work-related requests to male actors but not to female actors, and made demeaning comments about writers, especially women and minorities.
“Peter Lenkov is no longer the executive producer overseeing ‘MacGyver’ and ‘Magnum P.I,’ and the studio has ended its relationship with him,” CBS said in a statement. “Our studio is committed to ensuring safe and respectful production environments. Over the past year, we have assigned human resource production partners to every show, expanded staff training and increased reporting options. We will continue to evolve our practices with continued focus on building trust with all who work on our sets. Every complaint is taken seriously, every claim is investigated, and when evidence is clear that policies were violated and values not upheld, we take decisive action.”
Several publications released an apology from Lenkov, which said: “Now is the time to listen and I am listening. It’s difficult to hear that the working environment I ran was not the working environment my colleagues deserved, and for that, I am deeply sorry. I accept responsibility for what I am hearing and am committed to doing the work that is required to do better and be better.”
“Five-0,” an updated version of the popular show that originally aired from 1968-1980, returned to TV in 2010 with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan in the leading roles as Steve McGarrett and Danny “Danno” Williams, who headed up a mythical crime-fighting force. Lenkov, while not appearing on camera, was well known locally for creating and leading the shows, especially since he appeared regularly at Sunset at the Beach screenings of the show in Waikiki, which took place for nearly every season premiere. Adding “Magnum P.I.” about a Hawaii-based detective, to his portfolio boosted his local standing.
“Five-o” ended 10-season run in April, while the update of “Magnum,” which started in 2018, is scheduled this fall. CBS announced that Eric Guggenheim, who has served as writer and executive producer of “Magnum,” will be taking over.
CBS has terminated a number of executives in recent years following similar complaints, among them CEO Leslie Moonves, who was accused of sexual assault and harassment and left in 2018; “NCIS: New Orleans” producer Brad Kern, who faced allegations of racist comments and verbal harassment of women; and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager was allegedly ignored allegations of harassment and abuse.
The New York Times contributed to this report.