Tom Werner was at TCA today in his capacity as executive producer of Starz’s basketball series Survivor’s Remorse, but on the sidelines he was asked about another of his series: iconic The Cosby Show. His Carsey-Werner produced the iconic sitcom starring Bill Cosby that ran from 1985-1992.
Currently, Cosby is fighting allegations from more than 40 women that he drugged them without their knowledge in order to have sex with them. The show, a rerun staple, has been pulled from the air on TV Land and Centric TV amid the firestorm though it still is available some streaming services.
“I certainly think that at the moment the show is kind of tarnished,” Werner told critics, as reported by TV Insider offstage after the TCA session today, calling the sitcom “one of the most groundbreaking shows in television.” “But hopefully people can distinguish between the show and Bill. I think about all the great episodes that we’ve done and the impact that it had. I’m certainly hoping that people can continue to watch it.”
He added: “Certainly it’s a challenge right now. But I’m hoping that time will pass and that all the great acting and the great stories and the memorable moments will still be able to be viewed.”
Werner and had been in development with his fellow Survivor’s Remorse executive producer Mike O’Malley and Mike Sikowitz and produced by Sony TV, on a new NBC series to star Cosby and be produced by Sony TV. That project was scrapped when the allegations came to light. The multi-camera comedy project would’ve had Cosby starring as Jonathan Franklin, a patriarch of a multigenerational family who shares his many years of wit, wisdom and experience to help his daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren navigate their complicated modern lives.
As the allegations heat rose on Cosby, Werner and his Carsey-Werner co-head Marcy Carsey issued a statement but had been silent until today. “The Bill we know was a brilliant and wonderful collaborator on a show that changed the landscape of television,” they said it the time. “These recent news reports are beyond our knowledge or comprehension.”