Four-Part Docuseries Will Premiere at Sundance Film Festival
Ahead of Network Premiere on Saturday, January 30 at 10 PM ET/PT
First-Look Teaser Released
SHOWTIME Documentary Films today announced WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY, a four-part docuseries from Emmy-winning director W. Kamau Bell (United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell) that offers an in-depth look at the revolutionary career and personal descent of Bill Cosby. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY will screen at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, ahead of its SHOWTIME premiere on Sunday, January 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. All episodes will be available across all SHOWTIME streaming and VOD platforms on January 30. The announcement was made by Vinnie Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
Cosby, the renowned comedian, actor, philanthropist and African American icon, who for decades was revered as “America’s Dad,” has gained infamy as a criminal defendant in a sexual-assault prosecution. The series explores the complex story of Cosby’s life and work, weighing his actions against his indisputable global influence through interviews with comedians, cultural commentators, journalists and women who share their most personal, harrowing encounters with Cosby. Through archival footage, Cosby reveals who he may have been all along – the antithesis of the principled, public figure who became a hero, not only to African American people but to all people.
The four-parter sheds new light on Cosby’s cultural contributions and impact at the height of his disgrace – accused of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery and other misconduct by more than 60 women as far back as nearly 60 years. Bell, who grew up idolizing Cosby, unpacks how Cosby’s desire for power, which propelled his professional success, could be the same driving force that motivated his alleged crimes against women. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY peels back complex layers, portraying the genius performer, philanthropist and role model, contrasted by the accused sexual predator that now defines him. It offers viewers the chance to reconsider Cosby’s mark in a society where rape culture, toxic masculinity, capitalism and white supremacy are shaping how we re-evaluate sex, power and agency.
“As a child of Bill Cosby, I was a huge fan of all his shows and wanted to be a comedian because of him,” said Bell. “I never thought I’d ever wrestle with who we all thought Cosby was and who we now understand him to be. I’m not sure he would want me to do this work, but Cliff Huxtable definitely would.”
“Kamau has bravely ventured into a very complicated and nuanced area of the Bill Cosby story, which has yet to be explored in this depth. It’s an important and under-reported perspective on the legacy of one of history’s most iconic African American entertainers,” added Malhotra.
Bell is a stand-up comedian, director, executive producer, host and author. He hosts and executive produces the Emmy® Award-winning docuseries United Shades of America and co-hosts the podcast Politically Re-Active. Bell’s second book, Do the Work: An Anti-Racist Activity Book, co-written by Kate Schatz, is forthcoming from Workman in July 2022. Bell is the ACLU Celebrity Ambassador for Racial Justice and serves on the advisory board of Hollaback! and the board of directors of DonorsChoose.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY is a Boardwalk Pictures Production in association with WKB Industries for SHOWTIME, directed by W. Kamau Bell. The series is executive produced by Bell, Andrew Fried, Katie A. King, Dane Lillegard, Jordan Wynn and Sarina Roma. King also serves as showrunner and Geraldine Porras serves as a co-executive producer.African American