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Cosby does a comedy for Carsey-Werner

Following a dizzying week of megamergers, the Carsey- Werner Co. is hoping to reaffirm the importance of independent producers by signing Bill Cosby to star in his first network comedy series since he left “The Cosby Show” in 1992.

The reunited team, which produced the top-grossing sitcom of all time with “Cosby,” is in the early stages of development on a project loosely based on the popular British series “One Foot in the Grave.” Cosby will play a man between jobs who fights the irritations and frustrations of everyday life.

As with “Cosby” – which lasted eight seasons and revived the dormant sitcom format in the early ’80s – the franchise star will receive an exec producing credit entitling him to a large portion of any backend rerun revenue.

C-W principal Tom Werner said Aug. 3 the producers still are in the process of developing subsidiary characters for the new program. They will be armed with 30-plus scripts and footage from the English property, which is out of production but still in reruns in the U.K., when they pitch the show to the networks.

Werner envisions the program as an 8 p.m. vehicle, saying Cosby’s “humor has always been universal. I don’t see why it wouldn’t appeal to everyone of all generations.”

In contrast to “Cosby,” which used subtle real-life humor in a show about two professionals raising their children, Werner is looking for Cosby to bring a “very physical element” to this story of an unemployed man who is frustrated with the bureaucracy.

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