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1990-91 Sitcom Scorecard -- TGIF Grows, Helping ABC Take On Aging NBC Comedies

Image result for TGIF 1990

Written Asking "Did I Do That?" by Bridger Cunningham

Five seasons of dominating 1st Place ended for NBC, as a narrow race among the top three networks ended with ABC taking 1st place for the first time since the early 80's.  NBC of course claimed Thursdays, but a newfound glory on Fridays with ABC franchise TGIF helped the alphabet network nudge their way into the front of the pack.


Overall network rankings went in the order of ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.  When it came to sitcoms, NBC and ABC went neck to neck with the peacock narrowly claiming the victory.  CBS Mondays created a formidable competitor, thanks to a top-20 clad lineup of sitcoms.  Beyond these phenomena, Roseanne reigned in Tuesdays.  Head of the Class, Who's the Boss and Growing Pains were all aging.  Due to the loss of lead Howard Hessman, Head of the Class ended its run after 5 seasons.  Doogie Howser and Wonder Years faded in a comically dramatic fashion, and ABC was due for some upgrades to its Tuesday and Wednesday blocks.

Fridays were red-hot, thanks to Full House cracking into 15th Place, followed by 22nd place Family Matters.  Perfect Strangers held up respectively, but the 9:30 timeslot would never recover as it continually rotated players for the remainder of TGIF history.  Over at NBC, their Saturday comedy block eroded as Amen was sidelined, and 227 ended the last season.  Several unsuccessful fares populated the 8-9pm hours, and NBC found their stable of sitcoms needing creative energizing.  Night Court, a regular top-20 player, slid down to 50th Place as it landed in pioneering Wednesday territory.  Mondays, however, experienced a makeover as the network traded orange for black as Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel Air replaced ALF.  After stumbling through the fall, NBC hit paydirt as Mayim Bialik's Blossom became a compatible fit.

And of course, there's FOX.  Seeing two saucy, sensational hits, they separated Married... With Children and the Simpsons, shipping off The Simpsons to take on The Cosby Show head on.  It appears FOX chipped away at NBC's tentpole, who slid to 5th place among the shows.  FOX did not generate sensational hits like they did in the last season, yet managed to place FOX higher on people's radars, even if the networks resided on UHF affiliates.