Netflix Chief Ted Sarandos on Bill Cosby Special: ‘I Don’t Think it’s Appropriate to Release That’

TCA 2015: Olsen twins “teetering” on “Full House” revival appearance, says streaming service’s head of originals

Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, at the TCA conference earlier this year
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sr

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that the company has no plans to release a stand-up comedy special starring Bill Cosby that was shelved as the comic’s sexual-assault scandal blew up late last year.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to release that,” Sarandos said when speaking to a group of reporters immediately following his executive session at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

Sarandos differentiated that decision from Netflix’s continued offering of “The Cosby Show” via the company’s DVD by mail service.

“‘The Cosby Show’ is produced by NBC and is owned by Carsey-Werner,” he said. “The other projects before were actually produced by Netflix and branded Netflix shows. We think we have continued to act appropriately when it comes to Mr. Cosby.”

During his session, Sarandos was asked about Netflix’s upcoming “Full House” revival series “Fuller House.” He said that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, the original cast members who have not been announced to appear on the new series, “are teetering whether or not they’ll be around” for “Fuller House.”

Sarandos walked that comment back a bit after the session, saying, “There’s a bunch of stunt [casting] opportunities with them for the future if they want to.” The revival’s producer, Robert L. Boyett, had announced in May that the Olsens would not appear on the new show. When asked if the actress’ status in relation to the show had changed since that time, Sarandos said, “No, I don’t believe so. They’re not in the current creative.”

In the wake of poor domestic box office numbers for Adam Sandler’s latest movie “Pixels,” Sarandos expressed continued confidence in Netflix’s decision last year to cut a multi-film deal with the comedic actor and producer.

“I don’t have to defend Adam Sandler,” Sarandos said, citing “Pixels’” $24 million international premiere as proof of Sandler’s enduring value. “We did our deal with Adam Sandler because he’s an enormous international movie star.”

On Netflix’s Marvel-produced superhero series, Sarandos left the door open when asked post-session if the Punisher, scheduled to appear in Season 2 of “Daredevil,” would get his own spinoff show. “It is possible, for sure,” he said. “That’s the beauty of the Marvel universe.” He added that any of the four characters the company has planned or existing individual series for — Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, who will then cross over into group series “The Defenders” — “could spin off into films, too.” During his session, Sarandos said that the company plans to release a new season of an original Marvel show every six months.

Sarandos continued to refuse discussing specific viewership numbers for Netflix’s original series, though he claimed that “Orange is the New Black” is the most watched show on television. Asked whether it is Netflix’s most watched show, Sarandos referred to his earlier claim and said “by default it would be.”

During Sarandos’ session, Netflix announced an upcoming documentary, “Keith Richards: Under the Influence,” about Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, to premiere Sept. 18. The company also renewed animated comedy “BoJack Horseman” for a third season and set premiere dates for the upcoming season of “Longmire” (Sept. 10) and Aziz Ansari’s new comedy series “Master of None” (Nov. 6).