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Cosby talks about the 'Huxtable factor'

  • ** FILE ** In this April 24, 2008 file photo, Bill Cosby speaks at a forum for at-risk youths, in Atlanta. It's been 25 years since "The Cosby Show" changed the face of television. With the sitcom coming out on DVD, Bill Cosby talks about the picture he offered of a loving black family where the parents were firmly in charge. (AP Photo/W.A. Haarewood, file)

Bill Cosby has long bristled at suggestions that his pioneering NBC comedy, "The Cosby Show," was somehow unrealistic in its portrayal of a black upper-middle-class family.

So with the Obama family set to take up residence in the White House, Cosby reflected on those statements last week with a chuckle.

"For all those people who said they didn't know any black people like the Huxtables," Cosby quipped in a phone interview, "all I can say is, 'Will you watch the show now?' " The entertainer and comedian, who was promoting Tuesday's release of the 25th anniversary box set of "The Cosby Show," also admitted to being pleased with observations about the role of the so-called "Huxtable factor" in Obama's victory.

Said Karl Rove, a former Bush strategist turned Fox News commentator, on election night: "We've had an African American first family for many years in different forms. When 'The Cosby Show' was on, that was America's family. It wasn't a black family. It was America's family."

"The Cosby Show" broke ground in its depiction of a black family during its run from 1984 to 1992. The successful show kicked off a formidable comedy block on Thursday nights and helped to convert NBC into a ratings powerhouse for years.

"I like what people are saying now," Cosby said. "All the problems were not necessarily solved but were dealt with without violence. The parents made corrections, and people really enjoyed watching this black family."

Cosby also lamented the virtual invisibility of the black family on TV today. None is featured prominently in series on CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox -- and only one broadcast network series, the CW's "Everybody Hates Chris," revolves around a two-parent black family.


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