A look at Hef and Cosby's new animated TV series. And an explanation as to why TV is going old school -- as in geriatric

By Jon Regardie
Updated August 22, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

You know nowadays, it’s the old man — he’s got all the funny. And the people, they laugh when his animated likeness walks by… Or so hope a cadre of sexagenarian-and-beyond entertainment icons — Bill Cosby, Carl Reiner, Robert Evans, and Hugh Hefner — who are bursting from their BarcaLoungers with new cartoons.

Reiner’s one-shot, ”The Alan Brady Show” (TV Land, Aug. 17, 10 p.m.), reprises the comedian’s caustic talk-show host from ”The Dick Van Dyke Show,” updated with reality-TV twists, like the ”Who Wants to Marry Alan Brady” skit. The upside for the 81-year-old comedian? ”I don’t have to put a hairpiece on.”

Former Paramount studio chief Evans follows up his 2002 documentary, ”The Kid Stays in the Picture,” with eight episodes on Comedy Central of ”Kid Notorious” (debuting Oct. 22, 10:30 p.m.).

Cosby, something of an animation vet with ”Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” in the 1970s and more recently his ”Little Bill” cartoons on Nickelodeon, is using his 1986 best-selling book, ”Fatherhood,” as a launchpad for a Nick at Nite series to air next January. Although Cosby serves as the exec producer of the show, the lead character, high school teacher and dad-of-three Dr. Bindlebeep, will be voiced by Blair Underwood (”L.A. Law,” ”Sex and the City”). ”I think I’m retired,” the 66-year-old Cosby says.

Last but not least, ”Hef’s Superbunnies” is also in development. The Playboy boss is teaming with comic-book legend and ”Stripperella” creator Stan Lee on a Playmates-as-crime-fighters series that Hefner, 73, says will revolve around ”the mystique surrounding my life and the Playboy Mansion. You can see a certain kind of Bruce Wayne-Batman quality in all of that.” Holy grotto, Hef-Man!