Cheers is probably the most well-adored, least controversial comedy we have. And that's pretty impressive considering how much the show tortured us by inventing the will-they-won't-they.
But NBC originally wanted the iconic role of bartender Sam Malone to be played by America's currently most hated celebrity: Bill Cosby. (Sorry for making you think about Bill Cosby today!) According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC suggested Cosby but the show's creators declilned. Says co-creator Les Charles:
We declined because it would have meant doing the Bill Cosby Show.
George Wendt, aka Norm, explained that Cosby's own show eventually ended up helping Cheers:
We were worried because the ratings were so dismal. But The Cosby Show premiered, and it lifted the whole night.
The role went to Ted Danson, and Sam and Diane remain untarnished (yet still probably to blame for many toxic dating choices throughout history).