For Shame NBC

Once upon a time, NBC had guts.

Back in April of 1965 Pulitzer Prize winning author and syndicated columnist William S. White wrote: “NBC-TV has guts. The network, gambling that Dixie attitudes are changing, will pioneer with a 30-minute (sic) Wednesday evening show next season which co-stars a Negro actor, Bill Cosby, with a white one, Robert Culp. They will portray secret agents on even terms in a thriller called I Spy. NBC won’t know until late summer how many of its Southern affiliates will carry the program.”

NBC pioneered the interracial pairing of black and white characters on even ground at a time in America when race relations were less than harmonious. Did you notice the last line in that statement about the Southern affiliates? Yeah, there were a few who refused to air the show at the time it debuted and there was a lot of hand wringing at NBC’s offices.

This past weekend NBC celebrated its 90th anniversary and I SPY received no mention among the clips, salutes and tributes that were made. No mention whatsoever. The historical significance of what I SPY represented at the time it debuted and the impact it had was completely ignored.

Guts? It would appear that NBC no longer has any.

~Lisa Philbrick

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I am very disappointed in NBC.


I agree with Tatia on the I Spy Forum, and Lisa here Although Cosby’s actions have been despicable, and I feel he deserves the shame associated with it, I Spy was much more than Cosby. NBC, if it was a mature, intelligent company, could have noted the show, all the creative talents associated with it, and its ground-breaking equality of a black and white man acting together, without glorifying Cosby or approving of his personal actions over the succeeding decades. It could have been done. Instead, NBC stuck their “I Spy” head in the sand and hoped no one would… Read more »