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Cosby Show

The Cosby Show

Category: Sitcom

Created By: Ed. Weinberger, Michael J. Leeson, and William Cosby Jr., Ed.D.

Stars: Bill Cosby(Hey hey hey....it's fat albert), Phylicia Rashâd, Sabrina LeBeauf (1985-92), Lisa Bonet (1984-87, 1989-91)(also seen on A Different World), Malcolm Jamal Warner (also a character on The Magic School Bus cartoon--a great show for all), Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Geoffrey Owens (1985-92), Joseph C. Phillips (1989-91), Raven-Symoné (1989-92)(also seen on That's So Raven----she's all grown up now), and Erika Alexander (1990-92)

Opening Theme: "Kiss Me" - written by Stu Gardner & Bill Cosby performed by: Bobby McFerrin (Season 4), Oregon Symphony (Season 5), Craig Handy (Seasons 6-7), Lester Bowie (Season 8)

Country of Origin: United States

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 201

Location: New York City

Original Channel: NBC

Original Run: September 20, 1984 to April 30, 1992

The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom starring Bill Cosby, first airing on September 20, 1984 and running for eight seasons on the NBC television network, until April 30, 1992. The show focused on the Huxtable family, an upper-middle class African-American family living in a brownstone building in Brooklyn, New York.

According to TV Guide, the show "was TV's biggest hit in the 1980s, and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC's ratings fortunes".[1] Originally, the show had been pitched to ABC, which rejected it.[1] Entertainment Weekly stated that The Cosby Show helped to make possible a larger variety of shows based on African Americans, from In Living Color to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.[2] The Cosby Show is one of only two American shows (All in the Family being the other) that have been #1 in the Nielsen Ratings for 5 consecutive seasons. The show spawned the successful spin-off A Different World.

Overview The show focused on the Huxtable family, an upper-middle class family living in a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, New York, at 10 Stigwood Avenue.[3] The patriarch was the very playful, humorous, and fun-loving Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, an obstetrician. The matriarch was his very eloquent, elegant, and assertive wife, attorney Clair (Hanks) Huxtable. The show involved the usual difficulties of children growing up, such as son Theo's experiences of dealing with dyslexia, which was based on Cosby's real-life child Ennis, who was dyslexic.

Cosby had an unusually great deal of creative control over the show. He wanted the program to be educational, reflecting Cosby's own background in education. He also insisted that the program be taped in New York City rather than Los Angeles, where most television programs were taped.[citation needed]

The series was videotaped at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in the New York City borough of Queens.

Cosby was unusual for a "black" sitcom in that race was never mentioned (compare with "The Jeffersons," in which race was mentioned constantly). Black pride was very much expressed, however. The characters talked about participating in civil rights marches, there was a reproduction of a painting by black artist Jacob Lawrence on the wall, and they played recordings by black artists such as Miles Davis, James Brown and Duke Ellington.


Bill Cosby as Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable

Phylicia Rashâd as Clair Olivia Hanks Huxtable Sabrina LeBeauf as Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux (1985-1992, recurring previously)

Geoffrey Owens as Elvin Tibideaux (1987-1992, recurring previously)

Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable Kendall (1984-1987, 1989-1991)

Joseph C. Phillips as Martin Kendall (1989-1991)

Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Theodore Aloysius "Theo" Huxtable

Tempestt Bledsoe as Vanessa Huxtable

Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudith Lillian "Rudy" Huxtable

Raven-Symoné as Olivia Kendall (1989-1992)

Erika Alexander as Pam Tucker (1990-1992)

Episodes Pilot The Cosby Show pilot episode uses the same title sequence as the rest of the first season, and is widely regarded as the 'first episode'. However, it is notable for a number of differences from the remainder of the series.

In the pilot, the Huxtables have only four children. Following the pilot, the Huxtables have five children, with the addition of their eldest daughter, Sondra (Sabrina Le Beauf). Sondra was created when Bill Cosby wanted the show to express the accomplishment of successfully raising a child (e.g.- a college graduate). Whitney Houston was considered for the role of Sondra Huxtable. Sabrina LeBeauf almost missed out on the role because she is only 10 years younger (b. 1958) than Phylicia Rashad (b. 1948), who played her mother, Clair Huxtable, on the show.

Bill Cosby's character is called "Clifford" in the pilot (as also evidenced by his name plate on the exterior of the Huxtable home). His name was later switched to "Heathcliff". Additionally, Vanessa refers to Theo as "Teddy" twice in the dining room scene.

The interior of the Huxtables' home features an entirely different living room from subsequent episodes, and different color schemes in the dining room and the master bedroom. Throughout the remainder of the series, the dining room is reserved for more formal occasions.

Opening credits The cast of The Cosby Show in 1989 The show's theme music, "Kiss Me", was composed by Stu Gardner and Bill Cosby. Seven versions of this theme were used during the run of the series, making it one of the few television series to use multiple versions of the same theme song over the course of a series.

Season seven's opening credits were originally those that were ultimately used in season eight. Due to legal complications regarding the background mural, season seven's opening was changed to the previous season's opening. The original season seven opening, with modifications, was used in the eighth and final season.

Ratings The Cosby Show is one of two television shows (All in the Family being the other) that has been #1 in the Nielsen Ratings for 5 consecutive seasons.

These were the ratings for each season, according to ClassicTVHits.com at the end of the season, were:

Click here to see a great The Cosby Show video clip.

Season/Ratings Rank

1984-1985/#3 20,545,000 viewers


1985-1986/#1 28,948,300 viewers


1986-1987/#1 30,502,600 viewers


1987-1988/#1 30,502,600 viewers


1988-1989/#1 23,142,400 viewers


1989-1990/#1 21,275,100 viewers (tied with Roseanne)


1990-1991/#5 15,920,100 viewers


1991-1992/#18 13,815,000 viewers

Awards, nominations and honors Awards won Emmy Awards

Outstanding Comedy Series (1985) Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (1984) Michael J. Leeson and Ed. Weinberger

Justin Bukartek Lifetime Achievement Award

Golden Globe Awards

Best TV Series-Comedy (1985) Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series-Comedy Bill Cosby (1985-86) 2 wins

Awards nominated Emmy Awards

Outstanding Comedy Series (1986-87) 2 nominations Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Phylicia Rashâd (1985-86) 2 nominations

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Lisa Bonet (1986)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Keshia Knight Pulliam (1986)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Malcolm-Jamal Warner (1986)

Golden Globe Awards

Best TV Series-Comedy (1986-87) 2 nominations Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series-Comedy Bill Cosby (1987)


In 1999, Entertainment Weekly placed the The Cosby Show's debut at #28 in its list of the "100 Greatest Moments in Television".[4] In 2002, TV Guide placed The Cosby Show at #28 in its list of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.[5]

In 2007, Time magazine placed the show on its unranked list of "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME".[6]

In 2007, USA Today's web site ranked the show as #8 in its list of the "top 25 TV moments of the past quarter century".[7]

DVD releases Seasons 1 and 2 were released on DVD in Region 1 by UrbanWorks which was subsequently acquired by First Look Studios in early 2006. First Look Studios has since released seasons 3-8 on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.

Magna Pacific [8] has released seasons one through four of The Cosby Show on DVD in Australia and New Zealand, with similar artwork to the North American copies, although season two is red rather than blue. Each Australasian cover also features the tagline "In a house full of love, there is always room for more."

The Season 1 DVD only contains the edited versions of the episodes aired in syndication. However, all subsequent DVD releases contain the original, uncut broadcast versions.


The Cosby Show's producers created a spin-off series called A Different World that was centered around the "Denise" character (portrayed by actress Lisa Bonet), the second of the Huxtables' four daughters. Initially, the new program dealt with Denise's life at Hillman College, the fictional historically black college from which her father, mother, and paternal grandfather had graduated. Denise was written out of A Different World after its inaugural season, due to Bonet's pregnancy, and the following season was revamped, with the addition of director Debbie Allen and new characters. Denise later became a recurring character on The Cosby Show for Seasons 4-5, and a regular again in Seasons 6-7.


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