Last 'Cosby' show finishes production, to air in April

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- Eight is enough for Bill Cosby.

Eight seasons and 208 shows after it burst on the American scene to become the nation's most watched TV program, "The Cosby Show" wound up production yesterday in New York.


Producers say the finale will be a special one-hour show that will "stitch the lives together."

A lot of the show will deal with son Theo's (Malcolm Jamal-Warner) announcement that he's going to grad school to study film. The special will air April 30.


First at a studio in Brooklyn, then the last five years at Kaufman Studios in Astoria, the sitcom about a black professional couple -- he an obstetrician, she an attorney -- and their lively brood was always a New York show.

It had a touch of urban reality, at least as far as the kids' lives went. But the series never harmed the city's fragile image.

Mr. Cosby had announced a year ago that this season would be the last. Even so, the end was a bit hard for City Hall to swallow.

Mayor David Dinkins, who met the cast Monday after accompanying Mr. Cosby back from a talk to students at troubled Thomas Jefferson High school, said Thursday:

"By choosing to have the show produced in New York, Bill Cosby showed he is a great friend of the city. It was the No. 1 show in the No. 1 city."

"The Cosby Show's" departure leaves NBC's "Law and Order" as the only major series taped in New York -- apart from the network soap operas and several cable shows.

"The Cosby Show" dominated Thursday ratings -- so much so that NBC delayed the start of Game 5 of the Mets-Red Sox 1986 World Series until the show was over.

It was also taped on Thursdays in Astoria -- in fact it was taped twice, once in the afternoon, again at night. The actual airing came later.


According to NBC officials, producers had the choice of the afternoon or evening taping and often took the best parts of both.

Mr. Cosby, whose idea for the show was initially rebuffed by ABC, worked with NBC to produce the show in New York. It debuted Sept. 20, 1984.

It was the longest-running series produced here since the "Kojak" police show of the 1970s.