Family Matters, Step by Step, and other classic ’90s TGIF shows may see a return on WarnerMedia’s streaming service alongside new original content.
WarnerMedia is hoping to join the growing crowd of TV streaming services with reboots of Warner Bros. TV’s library of TGIF shows. The TGIF lineup was a block of family-friendly programs aired on Friday nights on ABC in the ’90s. For most of the decade, the TGIF lineup was what teens and younger audiences were watching on Fridays.
Cashing in on ’90s pop culture nostalgia has become one of the most lucrative businesses in recent years, particularly when it comes to TV programming. When Netflix revived the TGIF hit Full House in 2016 with the sequel series Fuller House, it created a brand new hit almost entirely through nostalgia. Its success also caused production companies to reevaluate how they were using their old TV series. Before the wave of reboots and sequel series, TV production companies, WarnerMedia included, were fine with letting Netflix and Hulu have the streaming rights to their shows. Now, those production companies are considering trying to cash in on the nostalgia themselves.
Deadline reports that WarnerMedia may have been inspired by what Netflix did with Fuller House. Though WarnerMedia has been prepping its own streaming service with content from TNT, TBS, HBO, and other companies under its umbrella, a large part of its appeal will be based around updates of Warner Bros. TV’s TGIF programs. WarnerMedia is considering the idea of reviving Step by Step, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. As of now, there is no certainty that any of these shows will actually go into any kind of development, but the interest is there. The idea here is to create programming that will immediately make the WarnerMedia streaming service a direct and viable competitor to Netflix through new original programming, including an animated Gremlins series, a Dune series, and revivals of its TGIF comedies.
This is a notable change from WarnerMedia’s past strategy of simply letting other services stream their old programs. It lent its hit series Friends and its TGIF comedies to Netflix and Hulu, respectively. With WarnerMedia’s decision to move into streaming, Friends was pulled from Netflix, and the TGIF comedies are expected to leave Hulu once the companies’ contract is up. This all points to WarnerMedia choosing to emphasize original family-friendly comedy on their platform in addition to its high-budget new original content.
Millennials are the ones using streaming services like Netflix the most frequently. For them, it is their TV. Bringing back TV shows from their childhood is a smart move, especially when those shows were on the TGIF lineup. Of course, while WarnerMedia can reboot its TGIF shows, it probably can’t recreate the actual experience of watching the TGIF lineup. One of the major upsides of streaming services is that it allows viewers to watch any program at their own pace whenever they want. There is no more gathering around a TV on a Friday night to watch something and knowing that your friends down the street are all watching the same thing at the same time. Between streaming and DVRs, there’s a sense that whatever’s there will still be there after Friday.
That said, there’s no denying the appeal of reliving some of TV’s best years. Even without the full experience, the shows that made up the TGIF lineup were perfect family-friendly comedies. If WarnerMedia does decide to reboot or continue some of those programs, they will undoubtedly find an audience.