Most Networks and Streaming Platforms Want Nothing to Do With ‘The Cosby Show’

There was a time when you could watch reruns of NBC‘s hit series The Cosby Show just about anywhere on TV. In fact, streaming services were likely paying big bucks to get the show — and its loyal viewership — to their platforms. 

However, things have changed. It’s been nearly impossible to find a streaming platform that plays The Cosby Show since allegations came out against the sitcom’s star, Bill Cosby. One allegation, in particular, led to his arrest and conviction. But many are outraged after finding out Cosby was released from prison.

Despite its immense success, it’s nearly impossible to find ‘The Cosby Show’ on TV now

'The Cosby Show' cast in Season 1
‘The Cosby Show’ cast in Season 1 | Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank

The Cosby Show was an immediate hit when it debuted in 1984. Fans’ love for the show only grew with time as it became a classic that many longtime viewers would rewatch for nostalgia and new viewers would seek out to see what all the fuss was about. 

In fact, Television Academy said the show “finished third in the ratings its first season (1984-85) and first for the next four seasons.” From there, it only fell to second after Roseanne

So, where can you find reruns of The Cosby Show today? Well, almost nowhere.

When news broke about the claims against Bill Cosby, The Cosby Show‘s own network — NBC — halted anything and everything to do with the series. You won’t even find the show on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, nowadays.

Following suit, Netflix made clear that it wouldn’t be streaming the show. Though Hulu and Disney+ never openly refused to carry the show, you won’t find it on those platforms either.

In fact, the only streaming service where you can find it is Amazon Prime. The platform has Seasons 1 through 8 included in the subscription.  

Bill Cosby’s sexual assault arrest, conviction, and recent release

Beginning with a joke by a comedian that went viral — referencing Cosby getting away with rape because of his success — several women came forward with allegations of rape and sexual harassment against the TV legend. 

According to CNN, most of his accusers reported being drugged by a drink he made them, including the first woman to come forward. She told the network: “I never saw any drugs, but I would wake up completely confused, half-dressed, and knowing that my body had been touched without my permission.”

From there, 60 women came forward with claims of drug-facilitated rape, and two instances involved child sexual assault because the alleged victims were only 15 at the time. However, Cosby was sentenced to only three to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. 

On June 30, 2021, the man once known as “America’s Dad” was released from State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and his conviction was overturned

The reason?

The split court found that Cosby was unfairly prosecuted because one prosecutor got him to talk by saying he wouldn’t be charged based on Constand’s accusations, and another prosecutor charged him anyway because the same agreement did not bind him.

Is it possible to separate the art from the artist and watch the show?

Cosby’s recent release has done more than spark outrage — it has opened the door to some important discussions. With a series as big as The Cosby Show, is it really possible to separate the art from the artist and continue watching the sitcom?

For many, that’s unlikely considering the extent of his alleged crimes and the women he hurt. Once you hear even a handful of the accusations, it can be hard to look at Bill Cosby the same. And though it’s unfortunate for the whole cast of The Cosby Show, it would also be difficult to envision him as the wonderful dad he plays in the series anymore.

But the real answer lies within the viewer.

How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free and confidential support.

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