Bounce TV to bring back ‘Cosby Show’ reruns

FILE - In this March 6, 1992, file photo, Phylicia Rashad, as Clair Huxtable, talks on the telephone while Bill Cosby, as Dr. Cliff Huxtable, center, and other cast members of the family sitcom "The Cosby Show," gather around during taping of the final episode in New York. Bounce TV announced Nov. 11, 2016, that it would resume airing reruns of "The Cosby Show" on Dec. 19. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 6, 1992, file photo, Phylicia Rashad, as Clair Huxtable, talks on the telephone while Bill Cosby, as Dr. Cliff Huxtable, center, and other cast members of the family sitcom "The Cosby Show," gather around during taping of the final episode in New York. Bounce TV announced Nov. 11, 2016, that it would resume airing reruns of "The Cosby Show" on Dec. 19. (AP Photo, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Reruns of “The Cosby Show” are returning to television, even as the comedian’s sexual assault trial looms next year.

Bounce TV has announced in social media posts that it will resume airing reruns of the 1980s sitcom on Dec. 19. Atlanta-based Bounce claims to be the first TV network designed and programmed for African-Americans. It says it takes the allegations against Cosby “seriously,” but says its research shows African-Americans “see a distinction between Bill Cosby, the man, and the iconic TV character Cliff Huxtable.”

The announcement has drawn criticism from some, including Judd Apatow. The director and producer tweeted Tuesday, “Presenting a violent rapist to viewers like he is a lovable dad is inappropriate.”

The 79-year-old Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge in Pennsylvania, where he is scheduled to go on trial by June. He has also generally denied allegations of unwanted sexual contact from dozens of other women.