Back in the 1990s, it seemed like every sitcom on television was tailored specifically to the comedian leading its cast. Shows like Roseanne, Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond are just a few examples of hit series that fit this bill, and all three helped keep the family sitcom a television mainstay for years. However, before those shows even aired their respective pilots, The Cosby Show accomplished both these tasks.
Running from 1984 to 1992, the series was one of the biggest hits of its time, reinvigorating family sitcoms and paving the way for more African-American ensemble casts on shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters. Now, over twenty years since his signature series came to an end, Cosby seems poised to take on television once again.
According to Deadline, Cosby is reuniting with NBC (which originally aired The Cosby Show) to develop a new half-hour family comedy. Tom Werner – whose company produced Cosby’s 1980s hit show – will produce the new series, which will feature Cosby as the “patriarch of a multi-generational family,” though no other specifics about the plot have been revealed. Cosby and Werner are currently searching for writers.
Considering that The Cosby Show lent a significant boost to NBC’s ratings, it’s clear that the network is hoping that Cosby’s presence in their schedule will have a similar effect nowadays. However, the question here is whether Cosby still maintains the same star power he did in his heyday. His last sitcom, simply entitled Cosby, ran for four seasons on CBS, but more than a decade has passed since it went off the air. Furthermore, the concept of a traditional family sitcom is far rarer and not the ratings bonanza it once was.
Still, the idea of having Cosby on the air could be an interesting idea. After all, his offbeat perspective on marriage, parenting and family life in general has worked twice before. Perhaps this new series could introduce a new generation to Cosby and fill a void left on the television landscape in the process. However, it does beg the question: how long until Phylicia Rashad, Cosby’s two-time TV wife, signs on?
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.