Oh, the good old days. Beginning in 1989, ABC called its Friday night block of family-friendly comedies “TGIF” — a play on “Thank God it’s Friday” that the network tweaked to refer to “Thank goodness it’s funny!” That year, the line-up included iconic series “Full House” and “Family Matters,” among others. In the 1990s, the block gained even more popularity, launching shows like “Step By Step,” “Boy Meets World,” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
The concept was phased out in 2000, as Friday night became an increasingly dead zone for broadcast TV. Now, ABC TV president Paul Lee is looking to get eyes back on television screens at the end of the work week.
By putting Tim Allen‘s “Last Man Standing” and the new “Malibu Country,” led by fan favorite Reba McEntire, on Friday nights beginning in midseason, ABC is reviving its Friday night comedy block. Though they likely won’t actually bring back the actual TGIF title, those of us who remember growing up on “Boy Meets World” would be hard-pressed not to make the comparison.
Lee tells the press that he has a “twinkle in his eye” for the idea of putting “two beloved stars” back into that Friday position. “I think it’s time for Friday night to be a destination again for broad family entertainment,” he says. Friday nights will also include “Shark Tank,” a reality competition show that will mark its fourth season. Lee considers it “a huge asset, really an anchor for our Friday night.”
He explains that he’s not trying to draw a Disney Channel audience with this new Friday night block. Instead, he’s interested in hanging onto ABC’s core demographic — women in their 30s and 40s — and their older teen children, specifically 18- and 19-year-olds. “The cool thing is that we already have lots of co-viewing,” he says. “We’re very proud of Disney Channel and their huge successes… ours is much more the co-viewing within the 18-49 demographic.”