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Should NBC Go Ahead With That New Cosby Sit-Com? (And Will You Be Watching?)

Should NBC Go Ahead With That New Cosby Sit-Com? (And Will You Be Watching?)

It’s been no
picnic for Bill Cosby lately. It all started when a video of comedian Hannibal
Buress, during one of his stand up comedy acts, called Cosby a “rapist” and attacked
him for being hypocritical for his criticisms of African-Americans’ self-destructive  behavior, yet is guilty himself of some pretty heinous
crimes against women.

Buress, on Howard Stern’s radio show shortly after the video came out, said
that he was rather shocked by the overwhelming response his comments got, since
he had been doing that Cosby routine in his act for the last six months, and that
no one even noticed or complained about it. That is until it was caught on
video and posted online. However, he completely stood by what he said in the bit
and doesn’t regret anything.

The fact that
Cosby has been accused of sexual abuse is not news of course. Those allegations
have been around him for years, along with other outrageous stories; and
despite the charges leveled against him by some 13 women, many people still support
him, saying that the women are lying to get money from him, and that, since Cosby
has never once been arrested or put on trial for any crime, then that absolves him of
any guilt.

But that hasn’t
stopped the backlash against Cosby in numerous articles (such as Brittney
Cooper’s article in Salon HERE) and elsewhere about those sexual abuse
allegations. But why has it taken so long for the media to pay attention to
them? Even in his new, generally acclaimed biography about the comedian, “Cosby:
His Life and Times,” author Mark Whittaker never once mentions any of the
allegations against Cosby, claiming that he didn’t because he has no
clear cut evidence of what actually happened.

However, one
has to wonder why it took the media so long to address the accusations after
Buress, a man, made the charges, despite what the alleged female victims had
been saying for years about him.

But aside
from all the articles and discussions, it was reported last week that a
scheduled appearance by Cosby on Queen Latifah’s talk show was cancelled at the
last minute, though it’s unclear who cancelled it. First it was reported
that the show’s producers had canceled Cosby’s appearance. Though, later, a statement was made to the media from his office that he himself had
decided not to appear on the show due to the controversy.

But that still
leaves us with the question about his currently untitled new sit-com in
development for NBC, to be produced by his old “Cosby Show” producing team of Tom
Warner and Marcy Carsey. In light of all the heat about Cosby, will NBC go
ahead with the show? Are they biding their time, waiting and hoping that the scandal will eventually die down and be forgotten by the time the show
airs?

So far the
answer seems to be, yes. The network announced late last week that the show is
still on track, and scripts are currently being written for the new series, with the show premiering next summer, though it could be pushed back to
the fall of 2015. All this means is that the network, at this date, certainly has no
second thoughts.

Keep in mind
that many people refuse to believe the allegations against Cosby, mainly because
of his very carefully crafted image of being “America’s Favorite Dad,” and the very
idea that someone who they grew up watching him during their formative years would find out that, in
real life, he was a serial rapist, which could destroy all their hope in humanity.

No doubt NBC
is hoping that the lovable family man image will be the one to survive, and all
this is just a temporary bump in the road.

To add
another perspective on the matter, I have had an on-going conversation about the
Cosby situation with another S & A contributor – Jana Sante – about
whether NBC should still go ahead with the show, and she responded with: “if NBC has taken a consistent line on
morality as it pertains to all the content, contributors and affiliates housed
on their network, then I suppose a sanction on Cosby would be in keeping with
their long held tradition of good moral practice. Has this historically been
the practice at NBC? ‘Cause if not, it’ll likely be a matter for potential
audiences to reconcile. If new Cosby content airs and if audiences take an
ethical pass on watching in direct response to the issues alleged in Mr Cosby’s
private life…well, then the people will have made their ethical choice.”

She also
added that: “It’s a case of supply and demand, I
guess. If the network believes that there’s still money to be mined via
audience patronage, then most likely this new show will go on- business as
usual. If people choose to actively watch this new content irrespective of
these historical allegations, then the people will have fulfilled the demand-
immoral or otherwise. May I draw a parallel here between the Academy honoring
Roman Polanski with an Oscar nod, even in light of his alleged past. Add to
this Woody Allen’s continuing career accolades. Add to this the remarkable
ascendancy of Mike Tyson’s brand, post-incarceration for the charge of sexual
assault. Add to this the seemingly unwavering patronage of artists like
R.Kelly, Chris Brown and Dr Dre, in spite of recurring records of their alleged assaults on women and underage girls.”

In other words, if the public doesn’t care, why should NBC? It’s all about the money after all. Sad to say that she’s right on target.

Which leaves us with the question that, if NBC is going ahead with this new Cosby show, will
you still watch it or not? If not, would it be because your favorite “Wished he was
my dad” TV father is a fraud, or would it be for other reasons, such as the possibility
that the new show would be just a tired, recycled version of his earlier NBC
show from the 80’s, which I still hold as one of the most overrated shows
ever in the last half century (No need to write about why I think so, but you can
read the piece I wrote a few years ago HERE).

So what do
you say? 

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