Why do we never see any of Flip Wilson's old TV show episodes?
1. Flip Wilson is deceased and has been for many years - The primary “cheerleader” for a return of his series was him and now he’s gone so there is little impetus to air his series.
2. The show was aired on both TVLand and TV One; however, its ratings have never been good - For reasons that aren’t exactly clear the series was not a hit when it was rebroadcast in half-hour segments on basic cable and so it’s no longer aired.
3. While the series had some good episodes, overall it wasn’t great - I used to watch when I was a kid and I laughed my ass off. When I saw reruns in the late 1990s, I remember that most of the jokes and skits elicited chuckles or smiles, rather than laughs and it’s likely that they would garner even less these days. Wilson was a good comedian; however, he wasn’t a risk-taker which is why his career is largely ignored by modern comedians and audiences.
4. Wilson never experienced an ancillary film career to bolster his other endeavors - One of the reasons that his peer Richard Pryor is still known is that he buttressed his standup career with film efforts. Flip Wilson stop doing standup comedy following the advent of his television program and his film output was rather minor. Basically other than his series and perhaps his short-lived sitcom Charlie & Company (CBS’ attempt to compete with the then-wildly popular Cosby Show) there’s not much of a reason to remember Flip Wilson.