As a kid, there was only one place to be on Friday nights: down in our den laying on the floor in front of our TV. I remember my parents always yelling at me to scoot back and not sit so close. I never listened them and now I have horrible eyesight.
What brought me to that TV every Friday night was ABC’s TGIF (“Thank Goodness It’s Funny”) lineup of family sitcoms. So obsessed and loyal I was to this one night of ABC television, that I didn’t like to go to, or host, sleepovers with my friends because I knew it meant missing out on Urkel’s latest invention or the new wacky scheme from J.T. (who, in retrospect, is a really annoying and whiny character). I also thought it was a nice touch to often have certain casts of TGIF shows “host” the evening…
Yessir, from 8PM to 10PM, TGIF delivered high quality sitcoms that kept me on the edge of my seat and tickled pink! I’ll always cherish those Friday nights watching TGIF with my parents while eating popcorn and drinking soda (sometimes my mom made me drink milk). Iwasn’t a fan of every show, but I enjoyed most of them and it seems ABC execs were usually kind enough to reserve the 9:30 slot for the weakest show on the block just in time for the snoozefest of 20/20.
The original TGIF ran from 1988-2000 and then was revived for two seasons from 2003-2005, but for my Nielson rating, the true golden age of the programming block is 1989-1996. After that, ABC seemed content striking the “family” shows and going with shows that would (theoretically) appeal to preteens & teens. Too bad they came along just a few years too early for these “tween” shows that are now all the rage and broadcast nonstop on Disney & Nickelodeon.
Who am I kidding? Those younger “hipper” shows were awful in the first place and ABC allowing longtime TGIF standards Step By Step and Family Matters to leave for CBS was a major mistake (I agree it was time to put them to rest, but I wish they would have at least gotten a proper sendoff on ABC, CBS ended both shows with no real series finales).
ABC would try to capitalize on the success of TGIF by introducing the I Love Saturday Night block in 1992. Can you guess which night it aired on? It only lasted a few months because they basically used it as a dumping ground for a mix of old & new sitcoms.