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For Bill Cosby, Can Lightning Strike Thrice? I Told CNN This…
January 23, 2014  | By David Bianculli  | 3 comments

So Bill Cosby has signed with NBC to star in a new series. After making major TV history for NBC twice already, with I Spy and The Cosby Show, can he do it again?...

Under the right circumstances, yes, I think he can.

CNN asked me that question, and to address it on their CNN website. So I did, and they’ve posted it.

Rather than repeat it, which I really shouldn’t do anyway, I’m providing this link…
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Gerald Jordan
The third time could be charming for millennials. One of my students, who is a member of a comedy troupe at the University of Arkansas, said that he found some Cosby albums that preceded the "sweater Cosby" he knew from TV reruns.
"He was funny," the student said, while rolling his chair backward in the Arkansas Union.
"He still is," I said.
If he's getting back together with the crew that made The Cosby Show, he'll be in good hands. If they can steer him in the direction of the kind of humor that finds every family, regardless of race and economic status, Cosby can be funny again.
Too many young audiences have seen him express wide-ranging dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in entertainment ("too much profanity") and society overall (the state of African-American youths, in particularly). To those young audiences, he's a grumpy old man. Cosby is much, much more than grumpy. He's right on target most of the time. It's just that we'd all rather laugh.
Jan 27, 2014   |  Reply
Cosby has had as many misses at hits -- the variety show and the mystery series didn't do particularly well -- and the lovely sitcom in which he played a coach was more a critical fave than a mass audience hit. The thing is, though, he doesn't have to be a ratings monster to succeed in the current environment. Shows with numbers that would have spelled quick cancellation in the '70s or '80s are now coveted. And there's the good-will element as well. Robin Williams is a draw even though his current show is hitting on maybe four of eight cylinders. I wouldn't count Cosby out. Depends on whether people will still love him in the advancing stages of irascibility.
Jan 24, 2014   |  Reply
As for TV icons,the argument could be made that Cosby is at the top.Gleason and Lucy would be there,possibly James Arness and Homer Simpson,but nobody reaches the length and breadth of Cosby.A personality almost purely born from TV(his stand up material showed up on talk shows pretty early in his career and was always TV freindly,by design.Besides the hit and misses listed in David's op-ed,Bill had minor successe with an early kid's video learning puzzle,Picture Page.Another miss would be his You Bet Yor Life game show which ran in daily syndication.But,outside of live sports or news,Bill has been involved in virtually all types of TV.No one else comes close.
But another home run,let alone triple?I don't see it.Bill's personal life,his cranky personality as well as finding the right audience,just doesn't seem feasible.Besides Bill,the show would need a middle-age star like Will Smith for a parent and a bunch of current unknowns with break-out potential to make this happen.
Jan 24, 2014   |  Reply
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