Prior to the many pieces, victims and testimony cementing Bill Cosby’s status as a reviled public figure, the comedian had almost reached the cusp of a comeback, planning a new NBC series and a Netflix standup special. Netflix was quick to shelve plans to release the special once Cosby’s deeds became a national focus, and now the streaming service doesn’t ever believe it “appropriate” to air.
Speaking with reporters at the ongoing TCA press tour, Netflix’s chief creative officer Ted Sarandos said of the already-filmed special Bill Cosby 77, which had been scheduled to drop in Thanksgiving 2014, “I don’t think it’s appropriate to release [the special] now.” That said, the streaming service will continue to offer physical DVDs of The Cosby Show, as Sarandos defended (Via EW):
The DVDs might still be the library. That DVD business is more about the completeness of things published on DVD. The Cosby Show is produced by NBC and owned by Carsey-Werner; the [stand-up special was] produced by Netflix and branded Netflix. The classic show is on iTunes, it’s on Amazon, it’s on all these other places too. I think it’s appropriate.
It isn’t likely that Cosby controversy would ever cool to the point that Netflix thought it suddenly “appropriate” to run Bill Cosby 77 after all, but it’s at least of interest how far along production got before Netflix pulled the plug. Trickier still is the concept of why The Cosby Show remains “appropriate,” given our knowledge of Cosby’s behavior at the time, but debate may never settle on how and when accused stars’ work becomes too toxic to profit from.
Should Netflix ever release Bill Cosby 77?