Incredibly, the same year in which Jay Leno gives his final bow as host of “The Tonight Show” at age 62, to pass hosting duties over to 34-year-old successor Jimmy Fallon, septuagenarian comic actor Bill Cosby is preparing for his return to episodic television after nearly 15 years to follow his return to the comedy stage after a 30 year hiatus. And the iconic star says he’s confident that he’ll be welcomed back by fans and the public.
Despite Leno and Cosby (76) both having been longtime fixtures at NBC, the Motley Fool noted that ageism was not a factor in the Network’s decision to put Cosby back on its upcoming primetime schedule. According to Motley, “Cosby’s trademark humor still plays with nearly every generation,” and they added the success of his recent standup special on Comedy Central proves his wholesome comedic appeal.
The Motley article had also speculated the veteran funnyman’s newest program would likely replace Michael J. Fox’s show, which as predicted was not renewed, but confirmed through original source Deadline.com that Cosby’s pilot is slated for fall 2014.
“Cosby is a huge get for any network and his return is a big deal, especially for NBC, which will more than likely once again reboot its entire Thursday night lineup,” cited Motley.
Comparatively however for Leno, who took over the helm of the top rated “Tonight Show” from previous host Johnny Carson in 1992, similar criteria didn’t appear to be a consideration.
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Regardless of viewership numbers and his 22-year tenure, the progressive bent bucked by higher-ups who stated the criteria factored into accommodating the more senior Cosby, was evidently not factored-in in Leno’s case.
So Fallon’s takeover of “The Tonight Show” is a second slight and second kick in the chin for Leno, who was vilified four years ago during the midst of the 2010 firestorm over Conan O’Brien’s controversial departure.
Subsequently, when the Cos brings his brand of family-friendly comedy entertainment back to TV, he will also be making an unprecedented and much heralded comeback.
If you count his two earlier shows: “The Bill Cosby Show”, which ran from 1969-1971 and 1972’s “The New Bill Cosby Show,” this will be his fifth. In essence this re-entry will mark a milestone return rivaling legendary Sitcom Queen Lucille Ball, whom fans know was infamous for her series incarnations.
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