TV networks and Netflix have been doing all they can to distance themselves from Bill Cosby in the past several months, but that doesn’t mean that his tarnished legacy won’t make it to the small screen in one form or another. A&E, a network more known for Norman Bates and redneck Christians than revealing exposés, will debut an all-new special later this month that centers on a group of women that have accused Cosby of rape in the past. Not the most comfortable time you’ll spend with your TV this fall season, I can guarantee you.
The special, which is going by the title Cosby: The Women Speak, will use as its content first-hand interviews with several of Cosby’s accusers. In telling their stories, they will in essence give a timeline of both the comedian’s public downfall as well as his formerly private history of alleged rape and sexual abuse. The show will approach his lurid life decade by decade, highlighting details already well-documented, as well as bringing new ones to light.
As far as who viewers can expect to see speaking during Cosby: The Women Speak, it’s confirmed that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest actress Louisa Moritz, model Beverly Johnson and publicist/journalist Joan Tarshis will all be taking part in the interviews. In total, more than a dozen accusers will appear on the special, and given that there are now over 50 women that have accused the former sitcom star of severe wrongdoings, it’s anybody’s guess who else will be speaking out.
Beyond showcasing just the accusers, the special will also look at the roots of this relatively recent explosion of accusations against Cosby, which came after a video of comedian Hannibal Burress, in which he called Cosby a rapist, went viral. It was a joke that he’d had in his act for a while, but after it went all around the Internet, the scandal reached a fever pitch and women started coming forward. It’s unclear whether or not Burress himself will be speaking on the special.
Following the first accusations, Cosby saw his career resurgence take a complete nosedive, as his talk show appearances were canceled, his highly anticipated Netflix special was shelved, and his burgeoning NBC comedy with Mike O’Malley was axed. Reruns of The Cosby Show were pulled by TV Land (and reruns of The Cosby Mysteries continued to stay off the air). This special might well be the only time we see Cosby’s face on a new TV program for quite a while, unless he decides to give any more interviews.
Cosby: The Women Speak will premiere on A&E on Thursday, September 17, at 10 p.m. ET.