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UPDATED July 13: NBC executives announced at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that Rules of Engagement alum Mike Sikowitz and Mike O’Malley (Shameless) are writing and producing the comedy, which hails from Sony Pictures Television. The network hopes O’Malley, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role on Fox’s Glee, has a co-starring role on the Bill Cosby project, which it described as a “classic, big, extended family sitcom.” Cosby — who has a talent deal with the network — will star as the family patriarch and father to three married daughters with children. Greenblatt stressed that the project is a script commitment and, if it works, could be on the air either next summer or fall 2015.
PREVIOUS: More than 20 years after The Cosby Show ended its run on NBC, Bill Cosby is returning to the network to star in a new family comedy.
Cosby is teaming with former Cosby Show producer Tom Werner of Carsey Werner for a new family comedy in which he’d star, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The comedy will be centered on Cosby, who will play the patriarch of a multigenerational family, like he did on NBC’s Cosby Show and CBS’ Cosby, and will include his take on marriage and parenting.
A search is underway for writers on the project, which is being eyed for development outside of the traditional pilot season window.
The news comes two months after Cosby told Yahoo TV that he was interested in returning to TV for another family show.
“I want to be able to deliver a wonderful show to [a] network,” Cosby said, “because there is a viewership out there that wants to see comedy, and warmth, and love, and surprise, and cleverness, without going into the party attitude. They would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes. Warmth and forgiveness. So I hope to get that opportunity, and I will deliver the best of Cosby, and that will be a series, I assume, that we could get enough people week after week after week to tune in to, to come along with us.”
The project comes as NBC’s comedy fare has continued to struggle. The network returned only two half-hours from the 2012-13 season — Parks and Recreation and Community. Its current freshman class, which includes the straight-to-series The Michael J. Fox Show, has struggled. NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters Sunday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour that the network’s comedy block has “been a real challenge,” and may shuffle the whole deck when it comes to its Must See TV Thursday lineup that once included The Cosby Show.
Cosby, 76, is a multiple Emmy Award winner whose NBC comedy ran for eight seasons, helping to revive the sitcom genre and establish the Must See TV block, airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. for its entire run. It was followed by ratings and awards season juggernauts Family Ties, Cheers and Night Court.
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