Gilbert and Werner’s working relationship dates back over 25 years, when 13-year-old Gilbert was cast as Darlene in the original Roseanne, which Werner executive produced. Fast forward two decades, Werner and Gilbert were main driving forces behind the highly rated Roseanne reboot for ABC, which they executive produced. When the reboot was suddenly canceled over star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet, Gilbert and Werner led the charge to keep the franchise going, which resulted in spinoff The Conners. The new series quickly established itself as ABC’s No.1 comedy series and was renewed for a second season.
Following their experience successfully mounting the the Roseanne revival and subsequent spinoff The Conners, Werner and Gilbert felt partnering up in a company was a natural progression of their collaboration. “Our mission is to get something on tv that makes you laugh and cry,” Werner and Gilbert said about sara + tom.
Gilbert last month announced that she will be stepping down from her hosting duties on the CBS daytime talk show The Talk, which she created and executive produces. She cited, among other things, new opportunities for her to develop and produce projects as well as act. In addition to executive producing The Conners, Gilbert is reprising her role as Darlene on the show, whose order is expected to go up from 11 in Season 1 to approximately 19 this coming season.
“I am thrilled to be working with someone as kind and brilliant as Tom,” said Gilbert. “When I was a kid, he was the guy behind the scenes making it all happen. It’s truly a dream to call him my partner, and I look forward to making impactful, funny and moving content together.”
Added Werner, “Sara is one of the most creative people I have ever worked with. I have admired her and loved her since she came into my office and crushed the reading of the role Darlene in Roseanne. She is as creative a talent behind the camera as in front of it. I’m grateful that she is partnering with me to create new content, and I hope the next three decades together is as fruitful as the last three.”
Summers joins sara + tom having recently served as Head of Development and Production for Nahnatchka Khan’s 20th TV-based Fierce Baby Productions. Prior to that, Summers served as VP of Current Programming at 20th Century Fox TV.
“We are so excited to have Mandy as part of our team,” said Gilbert and Werner. “We value her extensive experience, intelligence and passion for discovering and championing great writers. Most importantly she shares our mission to support dynamic and unique voices.”