I hope Bill Cosby is successful with his new media venture because prime-time television needs a strong family-values program now more than ever.
Cosby, 72, said he wants to offer viewers a new family comedy that explores relationships between children and their parents, a powerful and timely subject that is sorely missing from evening television.
“I want to be able to deliver a wonderful show to [a] network,” Cosby told TV Guide. “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,” Cosby said.
“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,” he added.
Cosby’s idea should resonate with millions of Americans – black and white – who are raising families. He said the new program would not be a remake of “The Cosby Show,” but instead would examine the lives of older children and how they interact with their parents.
I thought of Cosby’s idea for a family values television program while watching a CBS News clip of a game called “Knockout,” a violent and deadly game for some black teenagers who identify an unsuspecting victim and deliver a cold-hearted sucker punch that is so forceful that it renders the person unconscious.
During the game, the young men take turns until one of them knocks the victim unconscious. There have been at least three reported deaths within the last two years from this deadly activity – and police say the game is becoming more popular, especially in black communities across the country.
So what’s the purpose of “Knockout?”
“For the fun of it,” one teen explained, according to the CBS station in Washington, D.C.
“Knockout” is a convincing example for why we need the family values television program that Cosby is offering.
But let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that one television show from Cosby will suddenly cure the litany of social ills that we face as a society, but I am saying his program could help bridge the divide between some parents and children.
It certainly couldn’t hurt.
And consider this: Some black folks are more willing to acknowledge serious issues in the home when viewing a problem through the lens of comedy. We may actually need Cosby’s show more than we realize; it could be cathartic.
Cosby has probably been thinking about this topic for some time. Several years ago, he started a firestorm of controversy after he accused some black parents of being irresponsible.
“We’ve got parents who won’t check the bedrooms of their children to see if there’s a gun,” Cosby said.
Some black parents said Cosby was singling out poor black families, which they said was mean-spirited and insensitive.
Still, Cosby’s proposed show could offer positive life lessons for mothers and fathers who are struggling to make connections with their children.
But this isn’t a slam dunk; Cosby acknowledges that he’ll have to make a pitch to television executives and hope for the best.
“I want some network to say to us, ‘All right, we’re going to give you the money to do one show,’ just to lay it out,” Cosby said. “I just want one shot, because I know that what I am envisioning … they’ve never seen anything like this on TV; the laughter, the stories.”
I hope he gets the green light.