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Debbie Allen spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the roadblock to bringing back A Different World.
The 71-year-old actress, dancer and choreographer said Bill Cosby's attachment to the original sitcom series is the roadblock that prevents a reboot from happening any time soon.
"We've been wanting to do it forever. Honestly, it's strapped behind the whole situation with Mr. [Bill] Cosby — which is unfortunate," she said. "But the show was his idea. There's a studio and network situation where they can't allow any money to go into his company. I said, 'Can't we contribute it to schools or something?' But you can't take somebody's name off of a show. A Different World needs to have a second life, and we know how to do it. I was so close to doing it with Issa Rae."
She continued: "We were going to do it again, yeah. Then the question was posed, 'Will he take his name off of it?' And that's not going to happen. It's sad because we need it right now."
Cosby, 83, is currently serving 3–10 years in state prison in Pennsylvania on aggravated sex assault charges.
Netflix has acquired 7 Black television sitcoms, and will begin airing the sitcoms beginning this weekend.
According to The Wrap, Netflix raided UPN Network's library and acquired the rights to popular Black sitcoms, Moesha, Sister, Sister, The Game, Girlfriends, The Parkers, Half & Half and One on One.
Moesha, starring Countess Vaughn, left, and Brandy Norwood, will begin airing on Netflix this Saturday. The first three seasons of The Game, which ran for nine seasons total, will debut on August 15.
Popular '90s sitcom, Sister Sister, starring twins Tia and Tamera, will debut September 1. Girlfriends, which stars Tracee Ellis Ross, and ran for 9 seasons, will debut on Netflix on Sept. 11.
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CBS is taking a huge gamble on a Chuck Lorre sitcom titled Bob Hearts Abishola, which explores the cultural differences between Africans and American Blacks. The show focuses on a relationship between a middle aged businessman and a no-nonsense nurse from Africa.
Billy Gardell (former lead of Mike & Molly) stars as Bob, while Transparent star Folake Olowofoyeku plays cardiac nurse Abishola who tickles Bob's fancy.
In the series premiere, Bob, who owns a pressure stocking company, is rushed to the emergency room after suffering a heart attack. When he awakens, he spots Abishola and immediately begins to flirt with her.
"Do people call you Abby?" he asks her. "No! Go back and wash your hands," she responds.
But Abishola really piques Bob's interest when she sings to him in her native Nigerian language.
Abishola is a single mom (her husband returned to Lagos after he was unable to find a job as a civil engineer in America).
She and her son Dele (Travis Wolfe Jr.) currently live with her relatives Auntie Olu (Shola Adewusi) and Uncle Tunde (Barry Shabaka Henley), who provide comic relief.
Abishola's relatives and friends don't take kindly to Bob - and they certainly can't see him married to Abishola.
One friend Kemi (Gina Yashere) explains, "Top of the list, Nigerian man — same tribe (Yoruba). Then, Nigerian man — different tribe (Igbo). Then, other Africans (except Tunisians and Egyptians). Obviously. Then Caribbean. Then white. Then African American."
Of course American Blacks are at the bottom of the totem pole.
Another friend named Gloria (the wonderful character actress Vernee Watson) takes offense to the disrespect Africans show American Blacks.
CBS hopes Black Americans will tune in anyway.
The Facts of Life star Charlotte Rae passed away just days after the reboot of the 1980s TV sitcom was announced. Rae's rep confirmed she died Sunday, Aug. 5, at her home in Los Angeles. No cause of death was given. She was 92.
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Actor Ben Powers, best known for his role as Keith on 1970s TV sitcom Good Times, died on April 6 in New Bedford, Mass. An obituary did not reveal the cause of death. He was 64.
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I still don't get the hype surrounding the hip hop soap opera Empire on Fox TV. Sure the season finale finished with a respectable viewership of 17 million, but so what? The Cosby Show and A Different World pulled in triple the viewers of Empire on any given week. I don't recall the fervor surrounding those TV ratings.
Is it because Empire is a part of Hollywood's gay agenda TV shows? The Walking Dead has higher TV ratings than Empire. Do we discussed that show's ratings every week? Somebody clue me in.
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