Flashback: Bill Cosby and Roseanne had TV’s 2 top-rated shows for 2 straight years in late ’80s

Before they became national pariahs, Bill Cosby and Roseanne Barr stood atop the television landscape. In the late 1980s, “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne” were the two highest-rated series on television for two straight years.

For the 1988-89 TV season, “The Cosby Show” was the highest-rated series with a 25.6 rating, with “Roseanne” at second with a 23.8 rating, according to Nielsen. The following season, both shows tied for first with a 23.1 rating.

As New York Times columnist and book reviewer, Tina Jordan pointed out, the two shows had quite the rivalry.

To put those ratings in perspective, “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” were the top two highest-rated shows during the 2016-17 season with an 11.5 and 11.4 rating, respectively. Full data for this past season won’t be available until next month.

Nowadays, Bill Cosby is preparing for a September sentencing hearing to find out how much, if any, time he’ll spend in jail. Cosby, 80, was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault last month, stemming from the accusations of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who said that the comedian drugged and molested her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.

Meanwhile Barr’s successful revival of her sitcom was suddenly canceled by ABC on Tuesday after the TV star tweeted a joke calling former Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, who is African American, the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes.”

How things change.

13 PHOTOS
Stars react to 'Roseanne' show cancellation
See Gallery
Stars react to 'Roseanne' show cancellation
Here here!! Take stands against racism, hatred, and revolting displays of bigotry. No room for any of that shit her… https://t.co/wTQSFwddWU
Thank you Channing Dungey! https://t.co/VIlKTF9y7Z
Thank you, @ABCNetwork for doing the right thing and for showing people that bigotry and racism has consequences. N… https://t.co/9BWKIyKsmc
So proud of @ABCNetwork for having the ethical compunction to cancel #Rosanne despite the show’s huge numbers. We t… https://t.co/WLJD2AmM1I
Wow. https://t.co/JNJvcsFbST
I am repulsed that Valerie Jarret had that racist and bigoted "joke" made at her expense and I am sickened that any… https://t.co/UmeJ0a1sBB
But honestly she got what she deserved. As I tell my 4 year old, one makes a choice with one’s actions. Roseanne… https://t.co/os90iHKQn9
I'm glad Roseanne is canceled. The backlash to its cancellation is going to be a deafening nightmare. Nothing go… https://t.co/CEFBBzkckm
Thank you @iamwandasykes . She is a fascist. What she said about @ValerieJarrett is unconscionable. https://t.co/B6ewu9AVGu
Has Fox picked up “Roseanne” yet?
As for Trump: Is Roseanne useful to him anymore? That, not pique, is likely to drive whether he hugs the issue. I s… https://t.co/Sx7hKoEnp5
Yes you did. #FireRoseanne https://t.co/YcxKUJxscA
Roseanne was making boatloads of $ for @DisneyABCTV. For them to cancel it because of Roseanne’s racist, xenophobic… https://t.co/qe72yl0puq
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story