It’s not easy breaking exclusive news when you’re alongside 200 TV journalists at press tour, but it can be done. While researching my Adweek story on the launch of Pop, I noticed that a retrospective on The Cosby Show, announced last October as part of Pop’s initial slate, had quietly been dropped from the lineup. Brad Schwartz, Pop’s president of entertainment and media, explained his decision to place the episode on “permanent pause”:
“With everything going on, why do you need to run it?” said Schwartz, whose rebranded channel, Pop, celebrates “enthusiastic fandom,” which is pretty much the opposite of how most audiences now feel about Cosby. “I’m not going to pass judgment or make a decision on who’s right and wrong, but it was a very easy decision for us to say, ‘Let’s not air it.'”
The marks at least the fourth Cosby-related program to be taken off the air in the wake of Bill Cosby’s scandal. I also asked Schwartz, who had previously pulled 7th Heaven off TV Guide Network in response to the Stephen Collins child molestation allegations, if there are any circumstances under which the show will air. You’ll have to read what he told me.
I always have a blast pulling together the #TBT promos for Adweek, but this week’s entry was particularly entertaining, as I delved into the “Come Home to NBC” ‘80s promos back when NBC ruled the airwaves with The Cosby Show, Cheers and The Golden Girls. Here’s a one of the four promos I discuss, which is a must-see if only for the shot of Tom Brokaw wearing Bright. Yellow. Pants.
And much like everyone else who was partying hard in the ‘80s, NBC saw no end to its good fortune: “Where the magic never seems to end! Where the good times keep you coming back again.” (Well, at least until Jeff Zucker took over…)
All four promos are worth watching, including one that made the unfortunate choice to open with a shot of (yikes) Bill Cosby inviting you into his abode.
Once of the biggest head-scratchers during my many, many years at People was the shockingly muted reaction to what I thought was an incendiary investigative piece we published in 2006, speaking with five women who had accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. It was one of the rare times that we were going after a beloved celebrity, but after the story was published, everyone just seemed to shrug and move on, if they even noticed it at all.
So you could say that it took almost a decade for Cosby’s career to fall apart overnight. At Adweek, I look at how Cosby went from TV’s “most persuasive” pitchman, as he was known in his Cosby Show ’80s heyday, to its most radioactive one in the past week. As I wrote,
Putting the horrific allegations aside …. Cosby is in this predicament largely because he and his team demonstrated a surprising lack of media savvy for a performer who for decades has had audiences—and advertisers—in the palm of his hand.
Writing this story also gave me a chance to publicly credit the great Kate Aurthur from Buzzfeed, for almost single-handedly keeping this story afloat this year. Even if it took eight years after that People story, I’ve glad this is finally coming to light, and I’m shocked at how ill-prepared Cosby and his team have been to finally face the music.
After a bit of a hiatus, I returned to Parade to put together a Fall TV Preview, which was one of my first stories for them last year. My take on this shows are how they managed to be both fresh and familiar — and have a lot in common with some of your favorite shows.
When I filed, I didn’t know that this would be my very last Parade story. But sadly, the magazine was sold last week and the entire editorial staff, including all my favorite editors, was laid off as editorial operations move from New York to Nashville
Three decades after The Cosby Show, the broadcast networks are finally making sitcoms again that more accurately represent and reflect the diverse makeup of their audiences. At Quartz, I wrote about new fall sitcoms Black-ish and Cristela, as well as midseason comedy Fresh Off the Boat.
In doing so, the network is finally beginning to correct the embarrassing dearth of sitcoms featuring non-white families. “If you look at shows now that seem to lack diversity, they actually seem dated, because America doesn’t look like that anymore,” ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. “People want to see voices that reflect the America that they know. … That’s not so much diversity as authenticity.”
As just as Cosby Show did 30 years ago, these three shows focus on themes that viewers of all ethnicities can easily connect with. “We love having a diverse slate, but we think these shows are deeply relatable. [When I watch them], I am one of those families,” said Lee, who admits that the new shows will hopefully appeal to international audiences as well. “We have a chance to resonate in the US and beyond. But make no bones about it, these are American stories, all of them.”
It also helps that Black-ish is terrific, and one of fall’s best new comedies. ABC’s Lee, who is leading the charge towards presenting diverse families, knows that he and his peers still have a long way to go to close the gap. But these shows represent a very promising start.