what could have been

NBC Originally Wanted Bill Cosby to Play Sam Malone on Cheers

What could have been. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Do you need your huh moment today? In its list of the best 100 TV shows, The Hollywood Reporter has an interesting fact: NBC originally wanted Bill Cosby, who was the biggest comedian at the time, to play the womanizing bartender Sam Malone on Cheers. “We declined because it would have meant doing the Bill Cosby Show,” said co-creator Les Charles. Of course, Ted Danson would eventually go on to play the part, and Cosby would get his own show, The Cosby Show. It was a boon for Cheers, too, which was critically acclaimed but had bad ratings. “We were worried because the ratings were so dismal, but The Cosby Show premiered, and it lifted the whole night,” said George Wendt, who played Norm. Whatever the case, aren’t you glad you can still watch Cheers without second-guessing yourself?

NBC Wanted Bill Cosby to Star in Cheers