UNITED STATES―Following comic Bill Cosby’s 2014 sexual abuse allegations, the Atlanta-based television network Bounce ceased all airing of “The Cosby Show” in July 2015. Bounce TV is scheduled to begin running episodes of the “The Cosby Show” starting December 19. The network’s decision has many talking in the television industry.
One former TV executive explained his agreement with Bounce.
“Remember, ‘The Cosby Show’ was the work of a lot of talented actors, writers, directors and producers, and it was entertaining and inspirational to a lot of people. It would be unfair to everyone who created the show to take it out of circulation just because Bill Cosby was doing terrible things in his personal life,” the executive stated.
“While we take very seriously the accusations against Bill Cosby, our research showed that African-American consumers see a distinction between Bill Cosby, the man, and the iconic TV character Cliff Huxtable,” a network rep told FOX411 in a statement. “Research and direct viewer feedback were the deciding factors in the network’s decision to move forward. The desire among African Americans to see the show on TV again is being reinforced on social media based upon overwhelmingly positive viewer response since the announcement.”
Scott Pinsker, a branding and crisis communications expert disagrees with Bounce’s decision to resume airing episodes of the TV series.
“The kind of content that a network airs isn’t just about ratings, but about its social ethos: What it values, who its audience is, and what its brand stands for,” said Pinsker. “Bringing ‘The Cosby Show’ to Bounce might do well in the ratings, at least for a little while, but is it worth the loss of sponsors who’ll flee the network because they don’t want their brand to be associated with a company that profits from the ‘humor’ of a serial rapist?”
Bill Cosby has a tentative trial date set for June 5, 2017 in Pennsylvania. The 79-year-old has been accused of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, who claimed she was drugged and raped. Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Approximately 50 women have accused the comedian and actor of similar sexual assaults.