Little Bill
GenreEducational
Created byBill Cosby[1]
Based on
Little Bill books
by
  • Bill Cosby
  • Varnette P. Honeywood
Developed byFracaswell Hyman
Directed by
Creative directorRobert Scull
Voices of
Theme music composerBill Cosby, Don Braden, and Jon Faddis
ComposersStu Gardner and Art Lisi
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4[2]
No. of episodes52[3][4] (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Robert Scull
  • Shawn Cuddy
  • Irene Sherman
  • Fracaswell Hyman
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesNickelodeon Animation Studio
(credited as Nick Jr. Productions)
Original release
NetworkNickelodeon[a]
ReleaseNovember 28, 1999 (1999-11-28) –
February 6, 2004 (2004-02-06)

Little Bill is an American animated educational television series created by Bill Cosby.[1] It is based on the Little Bill book series, written by Cosby with illustrations by Varnette P. Honeywood.[6] Cosby also composed some of the theme music, appeared in live-action in the show's intro sequence, and voiced the recurring character of Captain Brainstorm.[7] It was Cosby's second animated series, after Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.[8]

The show's main character, Little Bill, is a fictionalized younger version of Cosby;[8] the show's executive producer, Janice Burgess, described the character as "little Bill Cosby."[9] Each episode features Little Bill learning a lesson while interacting with his large family and group of friends. The show was developed with a panel of educational consultants.[6] The show is set in Philadelphia, Cosby's hometown.[9] Little Bill's personality was inspired by both Cosby himself and his son, Ennis Cosby; Little Bill's catchphrase "Hello, friend!" was originally a greeting that Ennis used.[10]

The series originally ran on Nickelodeon[11] from November 28, 1999 to February 6, 2004, and reruns continued until December 22, 2006.[12] In September 2007, Nickelodeon announced that Little Bill would permanently move to the Noggin channel.[13][14] It premiered on Noggin on September 10, 2007.[5] Reruns continued to air until 2014, when the show was pulled from the air.[15]

Plot

Set in Philadelphia, the show centers on Little Bill Glover as he explores everyday life through his imagination. Little Bill lives with his parents, his great grandmother Alice (nicknamed Alice the Great), his older sister April, and brother Bobby. Each episode includes a daydreaming sequence where Little Bill imagines a fantastical scenario.[8] At the end of every show, he breaks the fourth wall by summarizing his day to the audience by talking to the audience or Elephant, his hamster, before going to bed, and a family member offscreen asks, "Little Bill, who are you talking to?" causing Little Bill to laugh.

History

Little Bill was first announced in 1997.[10] It aired on Nickelodeon from November 28, 1999 to February 6, 2004. It aired reruns until December 22, 2006. The series also aired on Nick on CBS from September 16, 2000[16] until September 9, 2006. In September 2007, Little Bill was moved to the Noggin channel,[14] which advertised it as a "new series".[5] Noggin aired five "premiere episodes" from September 10 to September 15, 2007.[5]

Reruns of Little Bill were shown on Noggin and the Nick Jr. Channel until February 21, 2014, when Nickelodeon removed the show from its services.[15] In addition to pulling reruns, Little Bill was removed from NickJr.com in 2014.[17] Commenting on the show's removal from television, Distractify wrote: "Perhaps Little Bill should be left in the past."[15]

In 2017, the American Library Association said that the Little Bill series was one of the books most often targeted for removal in school libraries due to the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby.[18] In December 2014, TV Guide noted that Little Bill episodes had become difficult to find after the allegations, since the show was no longer aired on television.[19]

Episodes

Main article: List of Little Bill episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 26 November 28, 1999 (1999-11-28)[8] June 10, 2002 (2002-06-10)
2 26 May 7, 2001 (2001-05-07) February 6, 2004 (2004-02-06)


Characters

Glover household

Friends and neighbors

Related media

Several episodes were released to VHS and DVD by Paramount Home Media Distribution. A computer game, Little Bill Thinks Big, was released on September 29, 2003 for Windows XP and Macintosh.[23] Both these releases are now out-of-print and became extremely scarce and hard to find.

Main video releases

Name Release Date Number of Episodes Episode Titles
Me and My Family June 5, 2001 4
  • "Are We There Yet?"/"Super Family Fun Land!"
  • "Neighborhood Park"/"Magic Quilt"
Big Little Bill June 5, 2001 4
  • "Big Kid"/"Just a Baby"
  • "The Bills Go to Work"/"Miss Murray's Wedding"
What I Did at School August 21, 2001 4
  • "Picture Day"/"Copy Cat"
  • "The Snack Helper"/"The Stage Trick"
I Love Animals! February 5, 2002 4
  • "The Zoo"/"My Pet Elephant"
  • "Wabbit Worries"/"Wabbit Babies"
Merry Christmas, Little Bill September 24, 2002 3
  • "Merry Christmas, Little Bill!"
  • "Summertime in the Wintertime"/"Snowracers"

Episodes on Nick Jr. compilation DVDs

Name Release Date Number of Episodes Episode Titles
Nick Jr. Holiday September 24, 2002 1
  • "Merry Christmas, Little Bill!"
Nick Jr. Celebrates Spring! March 2, 2004 2
  • "The Skating Lesson"/"Mr. Moth"
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 1 May 24, 2005 1
  • "Little Bill's Adventure with Captain Brainstorm"
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 2 October 18, 2005 1
  • "Little Bill's Giant Space Adventure"
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 3 February 7, 2006 2
  • "Same Moon, Same Sun, Same Star"/"All Together Now"
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 4 June 6, 2006 2
  • "Racing Time"/"All Tied Up"
Nick Jr. Favorites Holiday September 26, 2006 1
  • "Merry Christmas, Little Bill!"
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 5 March 13, 2007 2
  • "The Zoo"/"My Pet Elephant"
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 6 August 7, 2007 2
  • "Ready, Set, Read!"/"I Got a Letter"

Awards

Emmy Awards

Peabody Award

Footnotes

  1. ^ On September 10, 2007, Little Bill was moved to the Noggin channel, which billed it as a "new series" and labeled episodes as "premieres."[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Zurawik, David (November 28, 1999). "Cosby's 'Little Bill' sends the right message to kids". The Baltimore Sun.
  2. ^ "Little Bill, Episode 224". NickJr.com. 2004. Archived from the original on July 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "Little Bill episodes". TV Guide. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Little Bill". IMDb.
  5. ^ a b c d "Shows - Little Bill". Noggin. Archived from the original on September 1, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Little Bill". noggin.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2008. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "'Little Bill' Has a Brainstorm". Tulsa World. June 4, 2000.
  8. ^ a b c d Owen, Rob (November 29, 1999). "'Little Bill' takes aim at kids, not merchandise". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Based on the books by Bill Cosby, "Little Bill" won't remind viewers of Cosby's "Fat Albert."
  9. ^ a b c "Met Him on a Fun Day and His Name Is Bill". The New York Times. May 6, 2001. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. 'Little Bill is, in a way little Bill Cosby,' said Janice Burgess
  10. ^ a b c Mehren, Elizabeth (December 12, 1997). "Cos and Effect". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Nickelodeon's 'Little Bill' Debuts as First African American Balloon In 76th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade". PRNewswire.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  12. ^ "Nick Jr. TV Schedule: Week of December 18, 2006". NickJr.com. December 18, 2006. Archived from the original on December 19, 2006.
  13. ^ "PR: Bill Cosby's 'Little Bill' Starts on Noggin on September 10, 2007". PR Newswire. 6 September 2007. Archived from the original on June 14, 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Little Bill NOGGIN Release" (PDF). Nickelodeon Press. September 5, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 12, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Piazza, Bianca (January 21, 2022). "'Little Bill' Boasts a Darker Energy Today Than It Did in 1999 — Is Bill Cosby the Protagonist?". Distractify.
  16. ^ Shrivastava, K M (2005). Broadcast Journalism in the 21st Century. New Dawn Press Group. p. 56. ISBN 9788120735972. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  17. ^ "NickJr.com". Archived from the original on December 14, 2014.
  18. ^ Grinberg, Emmanuella (April 10, 2017). "Bill Cosby's 'Little Bill' books targeted for censorship, library group says". CNN.
  19. ^ Schneider, Michael (December 1, 2014). "How Bill Cosby's Tarnished Legacy Impacts His Business". TV Guide.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h "Meet the Characters of Little Bill". NickJr.com. 2009. Archived from the original on June 5, 2013.
  21. ^ Bill Cosby. "Bill Cosby - June 15, 2014". All of the characteristics of Little Bill include Ennis and Big Bill (I am Big Bill - my memories of around that age).
  22. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 29, 2012). "'The Cosby Show's' Phylicia Rashad Joins NBC Drama Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. ^ "Little Bill Thinks Big". Amazon. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  24. ^ 61st Annual Peabody Awards, May 2002.