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The Big Problem With NBC's New Bill Cosby Show

By Tim Beyers – Feb 6, 2014 at 8:36AM

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Though a talented comedian and actor, NBC needs more fresh material to boost ratings and revenue.

Say what you will about cable and on-demand television, NBCUniversal could take a lesson from the creative work bubbling up from the web, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Witness the Comcast (CMCSA 0.03%) subsidiary's new deal with Bill Cosby. According to Deadline, the comedian is working on another half-hour comedy reminiscent of the 1980s era hit, The Cosby Show. The new program will apparently follow a similar format with Cosby as the patriarch of a multi-generational family. Expect heavy doses of observational humor about marriage, parenting, and family life.

All great stuff, Tim says, but also programming that many of us have seen before. Fans and investors should want fresher takes, especially when you consider that original dramas The Blacklist and Grimm are proving to be sustainable ratings winners for NBCUniversal. The network's comedies haven't done nearly as well.  A new Cosby Show isn't likely to tip the scales, Tim says.

Why? Partly, because comedy is difficult to produce. But Tim says it's also hard to give NBCUniversal credit for resurfacing The Cosby Show when there's so much good work to be found on the web. Chris Hardwick's Nerdist channel on YouTube is  good example. Or, Jerry Seinfeld's offbeat talk show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which airs on Sony's (SONY -0.43%) Crackle web television network. The show draws some 25 million streams regularly -- numbers that even the legendary Bill Cosby might find tough to match.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What if you were head of NBC's broadcast programming group? Would you bring back Cosby? Why or why not? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know whether you would buy, sell, or short Comcast stock at current prices.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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