NBC’s big-time little talent show — Little Big Shots is rocking the ratings. Host Steve Harvey knocks it out of the park with his gift for facial expressions, his half-stern sarcasm, and his cheerful way with the talented kids. A long time ago TV had another big star with those same qualities. His name was Bill Cosby and he also had a show where he talked to kids — Cosby hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things on CBS. Cosby famously never worked blue and was considered the most kid-friendly of all the popular comedians — he sold a lot of Jell-O pudding as a result. Cosby’s biggest hit, of course, The Cosby Show, was renowned for its family tone. Cosby was also famous for creating Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, the popular kids cartoon.
So Cosby was a no-brainer when it came to restarting Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things in the mid-1990s. Just the way Steve Harvey — possessing many of those qualities that made Cosby so effective with kids — is a great choice for Little Big Shots. (And Harvey hardly needs a fictional TV family to show his skills — he has seven children of his own!) The way Cosby reacted to some of the darned things kids said will remind anybody who has seen both shows of the way Steve Harvey shares his wonder at the talents of the tykes on Little Big Shots. But the Bill Cosby of Kids Say The Darndest Things no longer exists in the public imagination, that image of sweetness now clouded over by personal turmoil and horrible accusations. Watching Steve Harvey’s great skill with the kids it’s hard not to be reminded of Cosby’s fall.