Bill Cosby’s longtime producer is finally speaking out on the comedian’s shocking fall from grace, and the implications it will inevitably have on his work.
“I certainly think that at the moment, the show is tarnished,” he admitted to TV Insider on Friday. “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.”
After promoting his Starz series, Survivor’s Remorse, at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Friday, Werner told The Hollywood Reporter: “The legacy of the show is obviously very important to me because the show was a groundbreaking show and it portrayed a middle-class African-American family in a very positive way. It had a lot of stories that resonated with families because people watched it together.”
When asked specifically about Cosby, Werner said, “I don’t really want to comment on it.” But he did add that, “Obviously it’s a challenging time for Bill Cosby and a challenging time for the show, but I’m hoping that people will still be able to watch the show and identify with the Huxtables.”
This is the first time Werner has spoken out on the subject since he and his partner, Marcy Carsey, who worked with him on both The Cosby Show and Cosby, released a statement last November:
“The Bill we know was a brilliant and wonderful collaborator on a show that changed the landscape of television. These recent news reports are beyond our knowledge or comprehension.”
The allegations against Cosby have continued to pile up since the producers’ joint statement, and despite Werner’s best wishes, the show’s legacy seems to have suffered irrevocable damage.
One day after court documents revealed Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition to giving drugs to a woman he then had sex with, Bounce TV and BET’s Centric Network pulled the plug on the show’s syndication.
TVLand pulled its reruns of The Cosby Show in November.
Cosby and his lawyers have continually denied the allegations against him.