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Larry Busacca/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thirty years ago today, audiences were introduced to The Cosby Show, a sitcom about the Huxtable family in Brooklyn, New York, that would remain on the air for eight seasons.

The series was a huge hit, winning six Emmys, two Golden Globes and a slew of other awards -- not to mention ranking number one in the Nielsen ratings for five years in a row.

While most people know a little bit about its creator, Bill Cosby, here are 30 things you may not know about the show:

1. The Cosby Show wasn't the first show named after Bill Cosby. There were three others that came before, The Bill Cosby Show, The New Bill Cosby Show and Cos. After The Cosby Show ended, Cosby and Phylicia Rashad moved to CBS to star in Cosby.

2. Cosby's real-life family was the basis of the Huxtables. Both families consisted of four daughters and one son in the middle.

3. The character Theo was patterned after Cosby's own son, Ennis, who like the character had dyslexia. Ennis was murdered in 1997.

4. Bill Cosby never received an Emmy nod for his acting on the series---apparently at his own request, because he was opposed to such competition between performers. He did receive, however, two Golden Globe awards for playing Cliff Huxtable.

5. Whitney Houston was up for the role as the Huxtables' oldest daughter, but the part instead went to 26-year-old Sabrina Le Beauf because she had more acting experience and Houston was intent on becoming a recording artist.

6. On the show, the Huxtable brownstone was supposedly in Brooklyn, but the facade was actually shot in the East Village at 10 St. Luke's Place in Manhattan.

7. Much of the artwork that hung on the walls of the Huxtable home was by renowned African-American artists Synthia Saint James and by the painter Varnette Honeywood.

8. Phylicia Rashad won the part of Clair, in part, because she spoke fluent Spanish. The show originally planned to have Clair's character be a Dominican who would go on tirades in Spanish -- a la I Love Lucy -- but dropped the idea before the pilot was taped.

9. The show, according to TV Guide, was the biggest hit in the 1980s and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC's fortunes.

10. Cosby used material about family life from his stand-up routines for episodes of the show.

11. The show frequently promoted African-American and African culture by working into story lines artists and musicians, such as Jacob Lawrence, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Miriam Makeba.

12. Bill Cosby, along with his longtime collaborator collaborator Stu Gardner, composed the show's theme music and during season four, it was performed by Bobby McFerrin.

13. The show helped usher in other successful sitcoms, featuring African-American casts, including 227, Amen and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

14. A Different World was a spin-off from The Cosby Show created after the character Denise, played by Lisa Bonet, left home to attend Hillman College, a fictional historically black college.

15. Raven-Symoné originally auditioned for Cosby’s Ghost Dad, but she was too young for the part. Cosby liked her so much that he gave her a role on his TV show as his step-granddaughter Olivia.

16. Four-year-old Alicia Keys appeared in an early episode as one of Rudy’s friends.

17. Adam Sandler also got his start on the TV show playing Theo's friend, Smitty.

18. Cliff Huxtable was ranked No. 1 on TV Guide's List of 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.

19. Story was always intended to have the parents in charge -- and not the kids. Cosby thought too many shows were being done from the kids' perspective and wanted the show to always be done from that perspective.

20. Many celebrities made guest appearances – Blair Underwood, Elaine Stritch, Stevie Wonder, Naomi Campbell, Lena Horne, Tony Orlando, Iman, Danny Kaye, Rita Moreno, Debbie Allen, Christopher Plummer, BB King, and Robin Givens ... to name a few.

21. There weren't five kids in the pilot. The character of Sondra was added in the second episode.

22. The Cosby Show was known for its fashion -- Dr. Huxtable’s sweaters were a trade mark of the show, but so were Denise’s high-fashion looks.

23. The designer behind Cosby's sweaters in the show was Dutch designer Koos van der Akker.

24. The show was also famous for its new openings each year.

25. Some of the characters are named after people in Bill Cosby’s life. His mom’s name is Anna -- like the TV mom. And his real brother’s name was Russell, which became his father. His wife’s maiden name in real life is also Claire’s maiden name.

26. Speaking of names, Cosby's character's name was "Heathcliff," though in the first few episodes, he was called "Clifford."

27. A mural featured in the opening of The Cosby Show was taken out because of a dispute with the school responsible for it.

28. The finale of The Cosby Show was the seventh most-watched of all time, with 44.4 million viewers.

29. Rudy was originally supposed to be a boy, but it wasn't until Keshia Knight Pulliam was permitted to audition for the role that producers felt they found the right person to star.

30. It's rumored that Carl Anthony Payne II, who played Cockroach on the show, was fired after he refused to comply with Cosby's request that he cut his hair.


Photo by: E! Entertainment(NEW YORK) --  After much deliberation and Melissa Rivers' blessing, Fashion Police will officially move forward without Joan Rivers, E! said Friday in a statement to ABC News.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joan Rivers and, for the last two weeks, have turned our attention to honoring her memory on all of our platforms," the network said about the late comedic icon.

"We have also thought long and hard about what Joan would have wanted as it pertains to the future of Fashion Police. We decided, with Melissa Rivers' blessing, that Joan would have wanted the franchise to continue. Fashion Police will return in 2015 commencing with Golden Globes coverage on Monday, January 12. No further details will be announced at this time," the statement added.

Rivers died on Sept. 4 at the age of 81. The comedy legend, alongside Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos, made Fashion Police a red-carpet staple, with their biting, yet funny comments on the attire chosen by Hollywood's elite for big-time award shows.

Rancic told ABC News earlier this week that Rivers' death was "the shock of a lifetime" and that her daughter Melissa, an executive producer of the show, would be instrumental in deciding if the show would continue.

"They are looking at different scenarios, whether it moves forward or it doesn't," Rancic said. "A lot of that will be up to [Melissa] and how she's feeling and how she decides what she wants to do, along with the execs here at E! There is no word now. ... They are seeing what Fashion Police looks like without Joan."


Larry Busacca/NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment(NEW YORK) -- Melissa Rivers made an appearance on a special Fashion Police: Celebrating Joan -- the first time she's publicly spoken out on television since her mother's passing on Sept. 4 at the age of 81.

Rivers sat next to Fashion Police stars Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos for the special, which airs Friday, and spoke about how influential her mother Joan Rivers was and the unexpected people she touched.

"She affected so many people, and people you would never expect to have humor," Melissa Rivers said, according to E! News. "I received a letter from the White House, from President Obama."

Rivers explained that Obama and the first lady were often targets of her mother's jokes.

"But I received a handwritten note saying, 'Not only did she make us laugh, she made us think,'" she said.

Rivers added, "That's one of the things people now are realizing. It wasn't just the funny, she made us think."

Osbourne seconded that sentiment and added that if it weren't for Joan Rivers, "I wouldn't be able to be me...any outspoken, independent woman wouldn't be who they are."




TLC(NEW YORK) -- Mama June had sad news to share Friday.

The Here Come Honey Boo Boo star, whose real names is June Shannon, has separated from Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson.

"Sugar Bear and I have decided to take some time apart to figure out some things in our relationship," she told ABC News in a statement. "We are taking things day by day, but regardless of what happens, the girls will always be our number one priority. We want to thank y'all for your support."

Shannon and Thompson have one daughter together, Alana, whom has been nicknamed Honey Boo Boo. Thompson has been involved with Shannon's older daughters, Lauryn ("Pumpkin"), Jessica ("Chubbs") and Anna ("Chickadee") too. Last summer, they held a commitment ceremony during which they exchanged vows.

“I’m so glad that they’re finally doing it,” one of Shannon's friends said at the time. “June just is scared of the whole thing. But I guess he finally convinced her.”



Jason Merritt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Reese Witherspoon transformed into “Pink Lady” Elle Woods from her hit movie Legally Blonde to send a hopeful message to a four-year-old boy battling cancer.

The Oscar-winning actress sent the message to four-year-old Will after learning that he was a big fan of Legally Blonde.

“This is for one of the strongest little four-year-olds I can imagine. Will -- I hear that you’re fighting so hard and strong against cancer and that in the hospital you’ve been watching a lot of Legally Blonde and loving it. I hope it makes you laugh!”

Witherspoon captioned an Instagram photo of herself holding a sign with the hashtag “Team Will.”

“I wanted you to know that I made this sign in your honor -- and I’m sending a big big hug and my hope and prayers. Just know -- I’m a really big fan of YOURS!” Witherspoon wrote. “PS anyone else – feel free to make your own sign for Will and post it with the hashtag #TeamWill so he can see it. ...I’m sure he’d love that!”

In addition, the mother of three made a short YouTube video titled “The Pink Lady’s Message To Will.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio





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