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Bill Cosby to return to NBC in new sitcom

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(CNN) -- Bill Cosby is returning to NBC with a new sitcom, a network representative told CNN on Wednesday night.

The comedian will play the patriarch of a multigenerational family.

The show brings the 76-year-old comedian back to the same network where his groundbreaking 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show" had an eight-year run.

"The Cosby Show" portrayed an upper-middle-class African-American family, and it's credited with helping revive NBC's fortunes and blazing a path for other shows featuring African-Americans.

Cosby played Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, the patriarch of that TV family. Phylicia Rashad played his wife, Clair. She would play his wife for a second time on the 1990s CBS sitcom, simply called "Cosby."

 

Cosby's career is in its fifth decade. He started out performing stand-up comedy in small clubs in Greenwich Village in New York. He eventually landed a pivotal co-starring role in the 1960s television series "I Spy," where he was the first-ever African-American lead in a weekly dramatic series.

He won three best actor Emmy Awards for the role of undercover CIA Agent Alexander Scott.

Cosby received Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He most recently received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which is awarded to performers who use comedy to influence American society.

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