Two years ago at TCA, Tom Werner told reporters that as EP of iconic sitcom The Cosby Show, he felt the show had been “kind of tarnished” by the scandal surrounding Bill Cosby. The actor has been accused by more than 60 women of sexually assaulting and/or drugging them over a period of many years, and reruns of the show–which ran from 1985-1992–were pulled from the air on TV Land and Centric TV.
Revisiting TCA on Monday in his capacity as EP for Roseanne, Werner told Deadline he’s been able to take some heart from those who loved The Cosby Show. “I feel that show was a landmark show in television,” he said, “and I’ve talked to a lot of people who were inspired by that family and were raised on that show, and they felt that the show was a very meaningful part of their lives.”
Since the show shares its name with its disgraced star, it might be particularly difficult to keep it separate from the man, but for Werner, there is a firm line. Drawing an analogy with his current project, which also bears the name of its star, he said, “I separate the show from the actors in the same way that I separate Roseanne Conner from Roseanne Barr.”
He continued, “My feeling is that whatever the challenges that people were feeling about what Mr Cosby did, that the show stands on its own as a show about an African American family that loves each other and aspires to great things, so I can differentiate between the two.”
Asked whether those reruns would ever be reinstated, Werner said, “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the people who are distributing that.”