David Zurawik

Once idealized as TV dad, Bill Cosby becoming pariah to industry

Just as TV once helped create the image of Bill Cosby as the idealized father, Cliff Huxtable in the "The Cosby Show," so is it now helping in the undoing of that image, with Netflix shelving a Cosby standup comedy special that had been scheduled for Nov. 28 and NBC cancelling a deal it had with the 77-year-old comedian to develop a sitcom.

The proposed NBC family sitcom was supposed to feature Cosby in the role of a patriarch.


And now comes TMZ late Wednesday reporting that TV Land has eliminated Cosby from its website, shutting down all links to his TV shows. (Read that here.) This could be worst news of all for Cosby in this very bad week as it suggests he is already starting to be erased from TV history.

The actions by NBC, Netflix and TV Land come in the wake of multiple allegations by women that Cosby raped them in the 1970s and '80s.


Cosby, who had previously settled one such claim, denies the allegations, but his denial through a spokesman that he "is not going to dignify" the allegations with a denial sounds tinny and out of touch with the serious and repeated complaints against him.

Cosby and all his high-priced spokesmen are not helping with their dismissive statements. If ever there was a show-biz operation out of touch with the new landscape of social media, Cosby's team is it.

While Cosby all but single-handedly carried NBC to record prime-time profits in the 1980s with "The Cosby Show," it is clear that the industry wants nothing to do with him - at least, for now.

Once upon a time, I might have thought it sad to see Cosby's groundbreaking TV career come to this kind of end.

But if the allegations are true, Cosby deserves to be shamed and banished from the world of television he was once thought to have so enriched.