101 Best Written TV Series

Aired: NBC, 1984-1992

Bill Cosby's return to network television caused a new vogue for sitcoms based closely on the act of a stand-up comedian, a trend that dominated primetime into the ensuing decades. Cosby's homespun, discursive and anecdotal storytelling style onstage made re-creating that approach, in sitcom form, a particular challenge. Cosby Show writer Erich van Lowe told Written By the star's advice to his writers was, "Don't write jokes; write humor." "It took me a while to figure that out," van Lowe said. "Listen to his records and listen to him speak it's all humor." Cosby's belief in the immutability of family and an elder's wisdom had to be infused into the Huxtable household, down to using proper grammar in the scripts. "No contractions," said writer Adriana Trigiani. "Respect the parents. Comedy without humiliation or degradation. No cheap laughs." The show was number one from 1985 to 1990.

How The Cosby Show changed the way we saw and wrote family TV 

Credited Writers

Lisa Albert
Elaine Arata
Chris Auer
Lisa S. Benjamin
Walter Allen Bennett, Jr.
Ross Brown
Nina Combs
Jill Condon
Bill Cosby
Susan Fales
Carmen Finestra
Courtney Flavin
Gardenia Gabrielle
Gordon Gartrelle
Matt Geller
Ben Gramin
Elizabeth F. Hailey
Oliver Hailey
Margaret Beddow Hatch
Winifred Hervey
Lore Kimbrough
Steve Kline
Gary Kott
Bernie Kukoff
Janet Leahy
Michael Leeson
Marcia L. Leslie
Jim Lewis
Michael Loman
John Markus
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson
Karyl Geld Miller
Thad Mumford
Hugh O'Neill
Earl Pomerantz
Bill Prady
Matt Robinson
Jerry Ross
Elliot Shoenman
Korby Siamis
Stuart Silverman
Mark St. Germain
Leslie Strain
Emily Tracy
Adriana Trigiani
Ehrich Van Lowe
Ed Weinberger
Matt Williams
Bryan Winter
Linda M. Yearwood