Thank God It’s Friday. For a time that’s what people were saying when they got off of work for the weekend and planned an evening of vegging out in front of their TVs. ABC would officially tell you that TGIF stood for Thank Goodness It’s Funny, but either way their Friday evening sitcom block commanded huge audiences during the 90s.
Executive producer Jim Janicek created the concept for ABC, which officially ran from 1989 to 2000, and then again from 2003 to 2005. TGIF was aimed at those in the 18 to 49 demographic, and was most popular during the early 90s. Ratings started to drop off and ABC canned the concept in 2000, before bringing it back from 2003 to 2005.
During that time American audiences were introduced to several great characters and some that were not so great. Since the lineup aired on ABC, it has not been uncommon to see former TGIF stars end up on the network’s reality series Dancing with the Stars over the years. A lot of these actors were a bit typecast in their roles on TGIF, but some of them have gone on to achieve some success in other ventures.
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14 Danielle Fishel
Fishel starred as Ben Savage’s love interest Topanga Lawrence in the TV series Boy Meets World which aired for seven seasons. She starred in the 2003 film National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze and the 2006 follow-up video Dorm Daze 2. Fishel lost weight using NutriSystem and became a special correspondent for The Tyra Banks Show. She hosted the series The Dish on the Style Network and reprised her role of Topanga for the Disney Channel’s series Girl Meets World in 2014. Danielle dated NSYNC member Lance Bass, but married Tim Belusko in 2013.
13 John Stamos
Stamos starred as Jesse Katsopolis, or “Uncle Jessy” on Full House from 1987 to 1995. He has been involved in some legal trouble, getting pulled over and arrested for DUI charges in Beverly Hills, CA in 2015 when he was sentenced to 30 days in rehab and found to be on the sedative GHB. Stamos has stayed active on television, starring in the series Jake in Progress from 2005 to 2006, ER from 2005 to 2009, and Necessary Roughness in 2013. He is also starring in the new sitcoms Fuller House on Netflix and Grandfathered on Fox. Stamos married actress and model Rebecca Romijn in 1998 but they divorced in 2005.
12 Emmanuel Lewis
Emmanuel Lewis starred as the title role in the original pre-TGIF lead off television series Webster, which aired from 1983 to 1987. The 4’3” actor didn’t have much success after being typecast as Webster, but did appear in episodes of the TV series Malcolm & Eddie, One on One, Moesha, and Family Matters. He also starred in the reality TV shows The Surreal Life in 2003 and The Surreal Life: Fame Games in 2007. Lewis also appeared in the 2003 movie Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and the 2007 film Kickin’ It Old School. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia and practices taekwondo.
11 Amy Davidson
You might remember the sitcom 8 Simple Rules for being the show that John Ritter starred in when he passed away in 2003. The series, which was actually titled 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, aired on the second run of ABC’s TGIF from 2004 to 2005. Actress Amy Davidson starred as Ritter’s onscreen daughter Kerry Hennessy until 2005. Since then Davidson has appeared in episodes of the TV series Better Call Saul, Bones, House, Tia & Tamera, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Ghost Whisperer, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, and Malcolm in the Middle. She also starred in the movies Netherbeast Incorporated in 2007 and Goyband in 2008. In November 2015 she announced she was expecting her first child with husband actor Kacy Lockwood.
10 Andrea Barber
Barber starred as the annoying neighbor Kimmy Gibbler on the TFIG series Full House, which aired on Friday nights from 1987 to 1991. The actress pretty much retired from acting after Full House, but was convinced to come back for the new Netflix series Fuller House in 2016. In 2012 Barber reprised the role of Kimmy Gibbler in the video Funny or Die with Dave Coulier. She earned her Master’s in Women’s Studies from the University of York, England and is now married with two children. Barber served as an assistant to the director of Whittier College’s Office of International Programs in her hometown in California.
9 Jaimee Foxworth
Foxworth starred as Judith, or “Judy” Winslow on the series Family Matters, which was a Perfect Strangers spinoff that moved to CBS for a year after being cast out of ABC’s TGIF lineup. Her role on the show was reduced once the character Steve Urkel was introduced and it seems her career took a downward spiral. Foxworth became involved in adult films and was often credited under the name Crave. She starred in adult videos including the 2009 film The Jeffersons: A XXX Parody. Foxworth became addicted to drugs and alcohol and starred in the reality TV series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008.
8 Ben Savage
Savage is certainly best known for his starring role as Cory Matthews on the television series Boy Meets World, which aired on TGIF from 1993 to 2000. Savage earned his degree in political science from Stanford University and even interned for Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter. He has done charity work for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and was the subject of a false death rumor in 2006. Savage has starred in the Disney Channel spin-off series Girl Meets World since 2014. The actor got his start in his brother Fred Savage’s 1989 film Little Monsters.
7 Suzanne Somers
Somers starred as Carol Foster Lambert on the television series Step by Step, which was a part of ABC’s TGIF lineup from 1991 to 1997. Since then she has not done much in the way of acting, but has certainly managed to stay busy. Somers competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in 2015 and has written her fair share of self-help and diet books, including the controversial Ageless: The Naked Truth About Biological Hormones. She starred in the one-woman Broadway show The Blonde in the Thunderbird and has also hosted The Suzanne Show. Somers has become known for promoting alternative cancer treatments which has earned her praise and criticism.
6 Melissa Joan Hart
Hart starred as Sabrina Spellman on the sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which aired on TGIF from 1996 to 2000 and had more than 17 million viewers. She went on to star in the sitcom Melissa & Joey with Joey Lawrence from 2010 to 2015. Melissa competed on the reality series Dancing with the Stars in 2009 and married musician Mark Wilkerson in 2003. She opened the candy shop SweetHarts in 2009, but it closed up after a lawsuit by a former employee. Hart and her husband launched the fashion lion King of Harts in 2015.
5 Bronson Pinchot
Pinchot is best known for starring as Balki Bartokomous on the TGIF sitcom Perfect Strangers, which aired from 1986 to 1993. After that he starred as the title character in the TV series Meego and hopped on board with fellow TGIF series Step by Step. In 2008 he had a recurring role in the soap opera The Young and the Restless. He hosted his own reality TV series for the DIY Network called The Bronson Pinchot Project where he bought and restored old homes. He has also worked as a narrator for audiobooks and was named the Best Voice in Fiction & Classics. In 1996 he won a National Board of Review Award for The First Wives Club.
4 Mark Curry
Curry starred as the title character on the TGIF series Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper which was part of the lineup from 1993 to 1996. Since the show ended he has had recurring roles on the TV series The Drew Carey Show in 2000 and the Bounce TV sitcom One Love in 2014. Curry starred as Marcus on the Nick at Nite television series See Dad Run from 2012 to 2015. He was involved in a freak accident in 2006 which left 18% of his body badly burned. He is said to have considered suicide after he awoke from a three day coma, but was able to fight it with help from fellow comedians like Bill Cosby and Sinbad.
3 Angela Watson
Watson starred as Karen Foster on the TV series Step by Step, which also moved to CBS for its final season. Watson was devastated to learn that her parents misspent the $2.5 million she earned over 10 years as a child actor. In response, she founded the organization Child Actors Supporting Themselves (CAST) to help young talent to manage their finances. Angela has also served on the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors and seems to be focused on helping young actors avoid what happened to her. Since Step by Step she has only appeared in the short Cowboys and Indians and the video Final Approach.
2 D.L. Hughley
The Hughleys may have signaled the end of TGIF, being featured in three different time slots in the final year of the popular ABC Friday night lineup. D.L. performed in The Original Kings of Comedy and has hosted the CNN comedy news series D.L. Hughley Breaks the News. The actor and comedian competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2013 and also worked in radio in New York City and as a correspondent for NBC’s The Jay Leno Show. The real life Hughleys consist of D.L, his wife LaDonna, and their three children.
1 Jaleel White
Commonly referred to as some variation of The Urkel Show, Family Matters aired on TGIF from 1989 to 1997 and starred Jaleel White as Steve Urkel. The actor earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA Film School in 2001 and has starred in TV series such as Grown Ups from 1999 to 2000 and Fake It Til You Make It in 2010. White competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2012 and did voice work for the TV series Sonic Underground from 1999 to 2000. He hosted the series Total Blackout from 2012 to 2013 and was a contestant on the reality TV series Worst Cooks in America in 2015.
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