Several Nets 'Monitoring' Bill Cosby Controversy

While three programmers have already retreated, several cable networks are mulling over whether or not to pull programming featuring beleaguered comedian Bill Cosby after a rash of alleged assault charges by numerous women have threatened to derail the popular comic’s career and legacy.

Cosby during the past week or so has faced a barrage of renewed and new allegations from multiple women accusing him of sexually assaulting them over the years. Cosby has denied the allegations through a statement from his lawyer, but refused to answer direct questions about them during an interview that aired Nov. 15 on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

In light of the accusations, upstart African-American targeted network Aspire said it is “closely monitoring the situation” before determining whether or not to pull the 1970’s sitcom The Bill Cosby Show and/or the 1960’s drama series I Spy starring Cosby from its lineup.

Centric, which airs the 1980’s sitcom The Cosby Show, said it is not removing the show from its schedule as of right now. TV One also isn’t dropping A Different World, a The Cosby Show spinoff series created by Cosby.

Several networks have dropped their support of upcoming projects featuring Cosby or have removed shows starring Cosby from their lineupsdue to the controversy. A TV Land spokesperson confirmed it has pulled the popular The Cosby Show from the network’s lineup but would not comment further.

TV Land will pull episodes of The Cosby Show from its upcoming Thanksgiving holiday marathon of comedy sitcoms which also includes Everybody Loves Raymond and I Love Lucy.

NBC said earlier this week it will not move forward with plans to develop a family comedy series around Cosby, which followed Netflix’s decision to indefinitely delay the release of the comedian’s stand-up special Cosby 77.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.