Over the past couple of years, TV Land, BET, and other outlets dropped The Cosby Show reruns from their lineups. Networks made these programming changes, after scores of rape and sexual assault allegations, leveled against Bill Cosby, came to the public fore. Just earlier this month, Hulu let its licensing deal with producers Carsey Werner expire. According to THR though, “insiders” say that had nothing to do with the accusations made by more than 50 women.
It seems that now, The Cosby Show is bouncing back. Bounce TV has picked up the sitcom in syndication. The network says there is “popular demand” for it. The Cosby Show will begin airing on Bounce, December 19th. This move comes as something of a surprise. After the scandal had played out for the better part of a year, in July 2015, the cable channel pulled its Cosby TV series reruns. That sitcom first ran on CBS from 1996 to 2000.
Bounce TV to air Re-runs of The Cosby Show
Here is the announcement tweet.
— Bounce TV (@bouncetv) November 11, 2016
While some fans are glad The Cosby Show reruns will once again be available, social media reactions were decidedly mixed. For example, writer, actress, and comedian Julie Brown responded by tweeting, “Are you people insane? Have you been roofied?” Many of the allegations against Cosby include accusations that he drugged his alleged victims before reportedly molesting them.
@bouncetv Are you people insane? Have you been roofied?
— julie brown (@missjuliebrown) November 14, 2016
Still, it seems Bounce does believe there is viewer demand for The Cosby Show reruns and is trying to thread the needle, by differentiating between an actor and the characters he plays. The Wrap published the following statement from the cabler:
Following the results of a qualitative research study which indicated demand from a vast majority of Bounce viewers to see ‘The Cosby Show’ on television again, the network has made the decision to begin airing the series next month.
While we take very seriously the accusations against Bill Cosby, our research showed that African-American consumers see a distinction between Bill Cosby, the man, and the iconic TV character Cliff Huxtable. Research and direct viewer feedback were the deciding factors in the network’s decision to move forward. The desire among African Americans to see the show on TV again is being reinforced on social media based upon overwhelmingly positive viewer response since the announcement.
About The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show originally ran for eight seasons, from 1984 to 1992 on NBC. The 201 episodes were a mainstay of The Peacock Network’s Thursday night “Must See TV” block.
Based on Cosby’s standup comedy, The Cosby Show features the Huxtable family. The upper-middle class Brooklyn family is headed by OB/GYN Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable (Cosby) and his wife, attorney wife Clair (Phylicia Rashad) and their five children.
The series spawned the spin-off, A Different World, which ran for six seasons on NBC, despite the fact that the original star, Lisa Bonet — who played Denise Huxtable on both TV series — departed after the first season. This spin-off also launched the career of actress Marisa Tomei.
Final Thoughts on Bounce TV Airing The Cosby Show
If I may editorialize for just a moment, this reporter grew up watching The Cosby Show. I loved it. It was a highlight of my TV week. I don’t imagine I will ever again care to watch another moment of it. I didn’t even press play on the video embedded in the Bounce tweet. That said, I am happy for fans who can still find enjoyment in the series.
Early this year, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played son Theo Huxtable, said there had been financial repercussions for the whole cast. When various networks dropped The Cosby Show, it wasn’t only Cosby who lost out on residuals. They did, too. While I am glad for the sake of these other actors, I can’t help but wonder how an alleged survivor will feel when she happens upon these reruns.
What do you think? Were you a fan of The Cosby Show? Do you think you’ll watch the reruns on Bounce, or has it been forever tainted for you? Sound off, in the comments.