Bill Cosby won’t stand trial for sexual assault in Montgomery County until next year, but his namesake show is returning to televison.
Bounce TV, which bills itself as the first African-American broadcast network, is ending the ban on airing reruns of The Cosby Show and bringing back the popular show to televisions in Philadelphia and across the country the week before Christmas.
You asked, and we heard you loud and clear, Bouncers. We’re bringing #TheCosbyShow back by popular demand! Tune in December 19th. #TVOurWay pic.twitter.com/p4C5RfYFN2
– Bounce TV (@bouncetv) November 11, 2016
Bounce TV, based in Atlanta, is available to Comcast Xfinity subscribers in and around Philadelphia on channel 262. The station had aired reruns weekdays at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., but pulled it, like many networks that ran the show in syndication, from its lineup in July 2015 when more and and more women came foward with sexual assault charges against the 79-year-old Cosby. The show was also available to subscribers of Hulu, but wasn’t renewed when the multiyear licensing agreement with Carsey Werner Television, first struck back in 2011, expired earlier this month.
The reaction to the show’s return to television has been mixed, but one vocal opponent of the move is producer and director Judd Apatow, who ripped Bounce TV on Twitter over the decision:
Who loves rape?!!! @bouncetv loves rape!!! Hey– how about we all never watch it again! Wait – we don’t even know what @bouncetv is!! https://t.co/lWPv1GM0zg
– Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) November 14, 2016
Presenting a violent rapist to viewers like he is a lovable dad is inappropriate. They have the right to do it and I can be disgusted. https://t.co/KsSh2zsI5T
– Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) November 15, 2016
The Cosby Show ran on NBC for eight seasons between 1984 and 1992. Its success also spawned a spin-off, A Different World, which itself aired for six seasons from 1978 to 1993.
To date, more than 50 women have accused the comedian of sexual assault over the course of several decades. Cosby has denied the charges, and has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting former Temple University student Andrea Constand.
On top of that, his lawyers have argued the comedian expects to restart his entertainment career once he’s clears of all the sexual assult charges he faces.
Cosby remains free on $1 million bail, and the comedian is tentatively scheduled to go on trial in June 2017.