Beverly Hills -- Bill Cosby, or should I say, THE Bill Cosby, will be returning to NBC, possibly as early as next summer, in a still-untitled multigenerational family comedy, NBC Entertainment chief Jennifer Salke told reporters at the biannual "critics tour" here Sunday. Cosby's return to NBC had been reported months ago, but it was unclear at the time whether he would actually star in the series.
Unclear no more: He will play the patriarch of a large clan which doesn't sound a whole lot different from that famous Huxtable clan, in fact. NBC execs said there was no rush to get the series on the air, while the 2015 season could be just as likely a starting place. Meanwhile, Mike O'Malley -- of "Glee" -- has joined the series as a writer along with Mike Sikowitz, formerly a show-runner on "Rules of Engagement." O'Malley could have a starring role as well.
The idea of a "writer" on any Cosby-starring show, by the way, is an interesting concept: He went through many of them during the "Cosby" years in part because he ad-libbed a lot of material, and disdained the sitcom beat that was and is endemic to multi-cam comedies. He drove some of his writers batty and batty writers tend to leave ... (Not making this up, not that I would: It was well known during the show's run that he was a tough boss, and Mark Whitaker, in his forthcoming bio of the star, adds more detail.)