EXCLUSIVE: More than three years ago, Netflix successfully opened a new area of original programming, the family sitcom, with a reboot of Warner Bros TV’s TGIF comedy Full House. The sequel series was a breakout hit, tapping into nostalgia for those who had grown up with the original series while also drawing a new generation of viewers.
That success was probably not lost on WarnerMedia executives as they are prepping the launch of a streaming platform to rival Netflix and have been discussing with Warner Bros TV brass library titles they can exploit for the new service.
I hear the WarnerMedia streamer is eyeing reboots of other WBTV-produced classic TGIF comedies, like Step by Step, Perfect Strangers, its spinoff Family Matters, as well as Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. Sources stressed that talks are in exploratory stages, and it’s unclear whether any of the potential revivals would come to fruition, but there is interest.
Reboots of signature Warner Bros sitcoms would be a nice bridge between WarnerMedia’s slate of originals and the extensive library of WBTV content where the Warner Bros comedy brand is expected to take center stage. WarnerMedia executives already have said that they intend to make Friends exclusive to the new platform, pulling it from Netflix. As I reported in April, that also appears to be the plan for Seinfeld, currently in an exclusive SVOD deal at Hulu until 2021, with The Big Bang Theory repeats eventually joining them when its still-red-hot off-network run winds down.
The same likely goes for Warner Bros’ TGIF comedies, whose streaming rights the studio sold to Hulu two years ago. All seasons of Full House, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, Step by Step and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper — 800 episodes total — are still exclusive to Hulu.
Full House, created by Jeff Franklin, premiered in 1987 and ran on ABC for eight seasons as an anchor of its TGIF block. It starred John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron, Jodie Sweetin, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Lori Loughlin.
Sequel Fuller House, which stars a number of original cast members, is heading into a 18-episode fifth and final season on Netflix. Stamos, who executive produces and appears on the new series, recently indicated he was “interested in what happened before Full House,” hinting at another possible offshoot.
There has been a lot of fan enthusiasm about a reboot of Perfect Strangers, the 1986 odd-couple sitcom about Midwestern American Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) and his distant overseas cousin Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot), including a petition.
Created by Dale McRaven, the beloved sitcom aired for eight seasons and spawned a successful spinoff in Family Matters, created by William Bickley and Michael Warren, which ran for nine seasons (1989-98), with Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) as its signature character.
The blended-family sitcom Step by Step, created by Bickley and Warren and starring Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers, aired for seven seasons (1991-98). Both Step by Step and Family Matters jumped from ABC to CBS in 1997 in a deal with WBTV.
Created by Franklin, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper starred Mark Curry and Holly Robinson and ran for five seasons (1992-97).
In the case of Fuller House, WBTV had the original series’ creator, Franklin, also create and executive produce the followup. He was subsequently fired from the series for alleged misconduct.
WarnerMedia’s streaming platform has been ramping up its original slate, which includes a prequel animated series to the Warner Bros Gremlins family movie franchise.