Showtime Documentary Films has revealed the first footage from “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”). The series aims to chart the career rise and personal fall of Bill Cosby, and will first screen at the Sundance Film Festival January 22 before premiering on Showtime Sunday, January 30, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. All episodes will be available simultaneously. Watch the first trailer below.
Per Showtime, “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.”
The series uses archival footage and testimony to shed 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.
“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 in a statement. “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 Showtime nonfiction EVP Vinnie Malhotra.
Bell 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.