Thirty years after The Cosby Show debuted, Bill Cosby is preparing his NBC comedy comeback.
"I've got it all put together, man! I even have my wardrobe ready," said Cosby, 76.
For the first time since Hollywood trade publications announced in January that NBC made a deal for a half-hour sitcom with Cosby and Tom Werner, the former Cosby Show producer turned Boston Red Sox chairman, Cosby talked about the prospect of returning to TV.
"I would love to lay out some of those wonderful thoughts that I have now (on parenting, families and marriage)," said TV's former Dr. Cliff Huxtable in a phone interview. "People who I meet in the airport keep asking me: When are you going to come back?"
It would be a multigenerational family show set in Los Angeles, he said. The Cosby Show (1984-92), TV's No. 1 series for five seasons (fall 1985 through May 1990), was set and filmed in New York close to Cosby's East Coast home.
Cosby envisions his new show appealing to today's parents who watched the show when were the same ages as Denise, Theo, Vanessa or Rudy Huxtable. A 40-something father recently told him that "when I saw Theo and Cliff and Clair, I laughed so hard. Now I'm a parent, and I'm still laughing as hard, but I'm on the other side of the table," Cosby said.
His new NBC family – like his old one, and his CBS Cosby family (1996-2000) – would show a loving couple respected by their children, which he said doesn't appear often on TV today.
"People say they love each other (on TV), they say they're married and these things, but the way they talk to each other, it doesn't sound like it. I don't see anybody kissing! And the children are still a pain in the neck, with parents being afraid to say something to them," he said.
Werner, who produced The Cosby Show with Marcy Carsey, has been working with two writers on the show, Cosby said.
Cosby didn't seem fazed by the high-profile failures last fall by former NBC sitcom stars Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes last season.
"Why not be excited at 76 years old?" he said. "I have a lot to say."
It could be long time before he's on again. NBC put Cosby's comeback on the "off-season development track," which means the show wasn't being developed for the fall TV season announced in May, said Rebecca Marks, NBC Universal Television Group Publicity executive vice president.
"We've got two guys writing, who are wonderful writers, and we just have to wait patiently, because they've got their own shows to put on," Cosby said.
"I hope NBC has sense enough to pick it up … because it will be fantastic. Then we'll see if all those people at the airport will tune in."