Entertainment » Television

Tello Films New Comedy 'Secs & EXECS' Features Sandra Bernhard

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday May 19, 2017

Sandra Bernhard teams up with her old "Roseanne" writing team for "secs & EXECS," a new six-episode office comedy series on tello. "secs & EXECS" is set at Kathletics, a women's wear company. We follow the first day back of Leslie, a new mommy, who struggles between showing her maternal side and being a cut throat executive. The series follows four bosses and their assistants, shifting POV's between the two, very diverse sets of co-workers.

"My character is motivated to get the job done fast and seamlessly," Bernhard told EDGE. "I think the shifting POV is fresh and unique."

The six-episode office comedy reunites lesbian actress Bernhard with "Roseanne" writers James Berg and Stan Zimmerman.

"Sandra and I became friends a while ago when she was just about to head to NYC for 'Without You, I'm Nothing,' her first big hit solo show," said Zimmerman. "Jim and I at the time were developing a crazy single-cam cable comedy series 'Sandra Bernhard: Trapped in a Movie of the Week.' Each week she's get stuck in a terrible, made-for-TV film. Kind of a demented 'Quantum Leap,' obviously ahead of its time. It was just a coincidence that we ended up writing 'Roseanne' when she was on the show. We had actually turned down a staff job on the first season of the series."


Starring Bernhard, Olivia D'Abo ("The Wonder Years") and Mindy Sterling ("Austin Powers"), "secs & EXECS" is set at Kathletics, a women's wear comedy owned by Bernhard's character, Kath Fairchild.
The webseries features a large and diverse cast including Natalie Dreyfuss ("Rita Rocks"), Bayne Gibby ("Enlightened"), Parvesh Cheena ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"), Miguel Pinzon ("Mystery Girls"), Travina Springer ("Valentine's Day"), Matthew Smith ("America's Next Top Model"), and Daniela Bobadilla ("Anger Management"). 


The show also marks Sandra Bernhard's reunion with "Roseanne" writers who penned the infamous "lesbian kiss episode," which they were nominated for their second WGA award for Best Writing.

Bernhard playfully groused about her infamous kiss, saying, "Actually, ABC and the censors blocked my kiss with Morgan Fairchild under the mistletoe and it was never consummated."

"secs & EXECS" was co-created and co-written by the veteran writing/producing team of James Berg and Stan Zimmerman ("The Golden Girls", "Gilmore Girls" and both "Brady Bunch" films, the Lifetime sitcom "Rita Rocks", and "Roseanne"). They said they actually sold the concept years ago to Lifetime, as two separate half-hours. But the webseries format proved a great way to cut back and forth from POVs.


"The audience got to juxtapose their differing perspectives at a much quicker pace. Which also led to more immediate comedy," said Zimmerman.

Bernhard said that she would love if it writers of the new reboot of "Roseanne" brought back her character.

"Nothing would make me happier," said Bernhard. "I hope they write me in to at least one episode. Let's see how it goes!"

Zimmerman echoed this sentiment, saying, "I would love to work on the reboot of 'Roseanne.' It could be very exciting to explore those characters during this wild political climate."

He also shared this fun fact: "In 2015, I spent four months in Moscow helping them develop a Russian 'Roseanne' show. Now that was a pretty fascinating experience."

Zimmerman directed all six webisodes. "secs & EXECS" marks Zimmerman/Berg's second series for tellofilms. They recently created "Skirtchasers," a five-part series starring Elizabeth Keener, Barry Bostwick and Meredith Baxter, which is currently streaming at tellofilms.com.


"Stan and James have been part of such iconic TV series and their writing for women is so smart and funny that I had to collaborate with them again," Christin Baker, President of tello films. 

tello films produces and distributes innovative, high-quality web series with a lesbian focus. They believe in telling authentic stories about people whose lives are often ignored or marginalized. tello creates web-series specifically for the lesbian/queer community. This means that lesbian/queer characters are front and center. At tello, they create great new web content that is intelligent but fun, timely but classic, and tasteful yet sexy, a whirlwind of classic ideas from a lesbian perspective.

Zimmerman said that although network TV wasn't going anywhere, "younger viewers are using other platforms for their entertainment viewing. So as writers and directors, we just have many more canvasses to paint on. Also, network, cable, and the Netflixes of the world can also look to places like tello to find their next big TV series - like 'secs & EXECS,' hopefully!"

"Any time you can create a new character that has an outlet, it's great," said Bernhard. "I think [outlets like tello are] another aspect of the business and the limitless venues now available."

Watch all six-episode of secs & EXECS at: https://www.tellofilms.com/series/secs-execs



For more information, visit www.tellofilms.com

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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