The New Adventures Of Old Bill Cosby
With his warm, open face and gentile approach to comedy, Bill Cosby once wore the title of “America’s Favorite Father,” and now in an era of guilty-pleasure reality shows, sexed up cable dramedies, and snarky modern families, The Cos has decided it’s high time to mount another comeback. And despite the aforementioned factors, he’s still sticking to what he knows.
The 76-year-old TV icon joined forces with his former producer Tom Werner (of Carsey Werner Productions, the team behind his definitive series, The Cosby Show) to ink a deal with NBC to bring him back into the living rooms of a whole new generation of audiences. But it’s a very different generation — and the audience might not even own a TV set anymore.
This doesn’t seem to phase Cosby who will offer his trademark ruminations on marriage and parenting as the fictional patriarch in a multi-generational family (no word yet on whether jazz music legends will make guest appearances as friends and extended family—but one can hope!).
Another possible hurdle: cost. Traditional multi-camera setup TV is a lot more expensive to produce than Keeping Up with the Sex That Sent Me to The ER: Atlanta Edition type of television that has been popular on the small screen for over a decade.
Still, as a proven bankable star with name recognition spanning several decades, Cosby (and apparently NBC) believes he can make it work. As he told Yahoo! TV in November: “…there is a viewership out there that wants to see comedy, and warmth, and love, and surprise, and cleverness, without going into the party attitude. They would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes… I assume, that we could get enough people week after week after week to tune in, to come along with us.”
That’s a big assumption and an even bigger order to fill. His last sitcom, Cosby, lasted four seasons (1996-2000), failed to crack the top 20 in the rankings, and existed before the rise and popularity of online video.
Plus, The Cos has met scrutiny several times over the past few years for his critical rants directed at African Americans he believes are too concerned with superficial pursuits. At some point, America fell out of love with him and assigned Cosby a new role, that of a curmudgeon older relative laying down self-righteous sermons. Whether you agree or disagree with his outspoken comments (and the venues in which he chooses to spout them), in some minds he has shifted from a loveable comic actor to a ranting septuagenarian monied type.