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by Billy Ingram
Network TV was rocking' and rollin' as the 1990s unfolded. The networks were enjoying fantastic ratings with a slate of hilarious comedies along with a handful of quality dramas. They had finally figured out how to give the people what they want leading to a (mostly) superb decade of classic television.
Not a lot of winners among the many new shows that year but, among the returning programs, there were: Get a Life, In Living Color, Married... with Children, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, The Simpsons, Totally Hidden Video, Cheers, The Cosby Show, Dear John, A Different World, Empty Nest, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Night Court, Quantum Leap, Seinfeld, Sisters, Unsolved Mysteries, Designing Women, Evening Shade, Jake and the Fatman, Knots Landing, Major Dad, Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Northern Exposure, Roseanne, Doogie Howser, M.D., Family Matters, Full House, Growing Pains, Life Goes On, and MacGyver. Quite a list of classic TV shows!
Here are some of the new shows airing during the 1991-92 season:
The Torkelsons was this year's heart tugging show, nobody played the kind father/grandfather like William Schallert (Patty Duke Show). For the second (final) season, the series was shaken up and renamed Almost Home.
The Commish was a comedy/drama starring Michael Chiklis as a suburban police commissioner in upstate New York.
Human Target was based on a very minor DC comic book character created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino as a back feature in Action Comics. This was a limited ABC series (7 episodes) that aired in the summer of 1992. Rick Springfield starred as Christopher Chance. Home Improvement and Step by Step were the most popular new shows on ABC.
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was an expensive hour long adventure series that never attracted the expected audience numbers given the popularity of the film series.
Carol Burnett returned to primetime in March of 1990 on NBC with half-hour repertory series called Carol & Company that lasted until July 1991. Burnett was back on the air in the fall, returning to CBS with a one-hour reboot of The Carol Burnett Show with new regulars Meagen Fay and Richard Kind (from the NBC show), Roger Kabler, Chris Barnes, and Jessica Lundy. The show was canceled after only 6 episodes.
Lasting only a few episodes, The Adventures of Mark & Brian was based on LA morning radio sensations Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps. Funny on the radio at the time, not so much on television.
Sibs was an ABC sitcom starring Marsha Mason created by James L. Brooks, Heide Pearlman and Sam Simon (The Simpsons). Terri Garr, Mark Blankenfield, and Seth Green starred in Good & Evil on ABC from September 25 to October 30, 1991.
In a series created and executive produced by Eddie Murphy, The Royal Family was the success that eluded Redd Foxx after he left Sanford & Son in 1977. Sadly, just weeks into the CBS fall season, on October 11, 1991 Foxx suffered a massive heart attack and died on the set while rehearsing.
Having won a Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy or Musical, Brooklyn Bridge - about a mid-1950s Jewish American family residing in Brooklyn - was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1992.
Final episodes of The Golden Girls (1985-92) and The Cosby Show (1984-92) aired this season on NBC. Both finales aired as one hour specials on Thursday, April 30, 1992. The proposed eighth season of Golden Girls was re-worked into a short-lived (1 season) spinoff called The Golden Palace with co-star Cheech Marin.
There was a plethora of cheesy synth theme songs, cringe-inducing drivel as you'll see in this mashup of the 29 new shows that debuted in the fall of 1991:
September 27, 1991 TGIF commercials:
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