Back in the early 1980s, NBC was in such dire straits that it was forced — because it had no other viable alternatives — to renew the lowest rated sitcom on television at the time, a little show called Cheers. It’s a good thing it did, too, because NBC subsequently ordered a television show from an actor who, at the time, was considered a little past his prime, a guy named Bill Cosby. You may have heard of him. The Cosby Show would go on to become the number one show on television, and boost all of NBC’s Thursday night comedies (including Cheers and Family Ties), beginning over 20 years of Thursday night Must See dominance for the network.
Now Bill Cosby has returned to NBC.
Having struggled with old NBC stars churning out bad sitcoms (The Michael J. Fox Show, Sean Saves the World), NBC is going to give it another go with a familiar premise. According to Deadline:
Cosby has partnered with producer Tom Werner, whose company with Marcy Carsey produced Cosby Show. The new comedy will be built around Cosby, who will play the patriarch of a multi-generational family and, like the comedian’s previous family sitcoms – Cosby Show and Cosby on CBS — The Cosby Show will channel his take on marriage and parenting.
So, basically, it’s The Cosby Show plus Modern Family? Will it succeed? I don’t know. I thought that The Michael J. Fox Show was a no brainer, but that show proved me wrong. Even the most likable actors cannot save bad writing. My only concern is that, with Parks and Recreation already renewed, and Community not exactly fitting into the gooey vibe of NBC’s broader comedy line-up, maybe Dan Harmon’s show doesn’t return because of Cosby. Hopefully, there’s room for both.