Bounce TV bumps 1990s ‘Cosby’ reruns; Centric drops ‘The Cosby Show’

Latter day "Cosby Show" with Raven-Symone. CREDIT :NBC

Latter day “Cosby Show” with Raven-Symone. CREDIT :NBC

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Here we go again.

Last November, TV Land dropped the classic 1980s NBC sitcom  “The Cosby Show” after a flurry of press about Bill Cosby’s drugging/sexual assault allegations hit the pop culture zeitgeist.

But Viacom, which owns rights to air “The Cosby Show,” let things quiet down and began airing repeats on its smaller sister station Centric. Today, Centric was supposed to air three episodes.

But the Associated Press Monday compelled a judge to release depositions Cosby made in a civil lawsuit filed in 2005 by Andrea Constand. In those depositions, Cosby admitted to getting prescription quaaludes (a now banned sedative) to a woman before they had sex in the 1970s. He also admitted to giving the drug to unnamed others.

Proof in hand, Centric pulled the repeats today and is airing old episodes of “Family Feud” instead as I write this instead of “The Cosby Show.”

Atlanta-based Bounce TV, whose investors include Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III, had recently begun airing the 1995-99 CBS series “Cosby.” It too has pulled that program off the air though a spokesman declined to comment why the network did so.

Cosby’s last live concert was at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in May. (I covered it at the time, hecklers and all.) That may very well have been his final live concert ever.

Of the 40-plus women who have come forth to talk about Cosby, some have said he used cappuccino, soft drinks, wine or other beverages as vehicles to drug them while others said he used capsules and pills. The stories range from the 1960s until just a few years ago.

Here’s a summary of many of those women’s stories.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, in a deposition on Sept. 29, 2005, the comedian was asked, “When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?”

“Yes,” responded Cosby.

After Cosby admitted this, the comedian’s attorneys attempted to argue to the judge that Cosby “misunderstood the question” and thought it only pertained to Theresa Serignese, who is one of the three women currently suing him for defamation in Massachusetts.

Cosby had tried to keep the deposition from being publicized, arguing he was no longer a public figure and the information would be embarrassing to him. The judge disagreed, writing:

Cosby “has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education and crime. To the extent that Defendant has freely entered the public square and ‘thrust himself into the vortex of th[ese] public issue[s],’ he has voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim.”

How damaging is this to Cosby for those who were on the fence about the situation?

“We have many people … women and people close to Bill Cosby, relatives and cast mates, who have said that he did not do this deed. And if you wanted to believe that he was America’s dad, then you’ve wanted to believe he didn’t do it. This admission is dynamite against him,” said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman to CBS News.

Frank Ski, former V-103 host who now works at an R&B station in D.C. (WHUR-FM), calls this news a “victory for so many women who are victims of rape and abuse from celebrities, community notables or family members that are held in high regard. So many women and children never have their voices heard or stories believed.”

“I think this is a very very unfortunate situation for those who supported Bill Cosby all of these years, especially those people that have spoken out with so much passion,” said Ebony Steele, former co-host on the Rickey Smiley morning show. “I think he let a lot of us down – meaning the every day person who not only look at him as a great African-American dad but an all-American dad. I feel sorry most though for his family and of course his wife Camille.”

Yet some people are still “reserving judgment,” like Whoopi Goldberg on “The View” because he never admitted to doing anything specifically wrong.

Controversy has caused UpTV to drop “7th Heaven” after Stephen Collins’ molestation revelations last fall and TV Land pulled “The Dukes of Hazzard” because of the Confederate battle flag on the General lee. And recently, NBC said Donald Trump would no longer host “Celebrity Apprentice’ after his comments about Mexicans illegally coming to the U.S.

 


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