An actor who was a fixture on NBC during its comedy glory days is headed back to the Peacock Network, and his program appears to be on a fast-track.
Bill Cosby’s new show could air on NBC as early as next summer, the Associated Press reports, citing NBC executives at the Television Critics Association press tour.
The show, which was first announced in January, was described as a “classic extended-family sitcom.”
Cosby, 77, was the star of NBC’s hit “The Cosby Show,” which launched three decades ago and lasted for eight seasons. The show held down the Thursday 8 p.m. time slot, and is often cited as one of the cornerstones of what became known as the "Must-See TV" era for NBC.
The new program is currently being written. "If the new Cosby project isn't ready for next summer, it could be a contender for fall 2015," the report notes.
The piece hints that past success doesn't always translate to a successful return. "Another veteran NBC star, Michael J. Fox, returned to the fold last fall. But despite his breakout success in 1982 on 'Family Ties,' ''The Michael J. Fox Show' proved to be a flop and was canceled this spring," the AP notes.
The report adds: "Unlike the flamed-out Fox show, the upcoming Cosby venture will use multi-cameras and be filmed in front of a studio audience, a format that has lost ground at NBC, where single-camera comedies like '30 Rock,' 'The Office' and 'Parks and Recreation have thrived."
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt talked about a renewed emphasis at NBC on the multicamera format.
"Greenblatt said the network is trying to bring back this classic 'multi' form, which goes back to 'I Love Lucy' and the earliest days of network television (and which is going strong at CBS with shows like 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'Mike & Molly')," the story reports.
Said Greenblatt: "There's been a generation of writers and producers who have gone away from multicam, and we are trying to revitalize (that form). There was such cachet with '30 Rock' and 'The Office,' which reinforced single-camera as the 'better' form, and I hope we can balance the scales a little."