TGIF was the slogan of a family-friendly prime time programming block on the ABC network. The slogan comes from the initials of the popular phrase Thank God It's Friday. However the initials actually stood for "Thank Goodness It's Funny" (which is backed up by a 1989 TGIF block hosted by Perfect Strangers cast members Bronson Pinchot & Mark Linn-Baker)
On Friday October 13, 1989, definitive changes occurred when the Perfect Strangers stars began using the TGIF name on-screen, which they explained meant "Thank Goodness It's Funny" (this tagline was taken from the "mouse/clock" theme lyrics). Balki and Larry also announced during the evening that a new policy, in which stars from the other three TGIF programs would rotate in hosting along with them, would begin. With the TGIF moniker permanently in place, more changes in presentation were ahead as the lineup grew even more popular. At the start of the 1990-91 season, the animated mice opening and accompanying theme music was dropped, in favor of new graphics which used the new TGIF name in them officially for the first time. With these new visuals came the "classic" TGIF theme ("It's Friday night/and the mood is right, gonna have some fun show you how it's done, TGIF..").
During the most successful years of TGIF, the main characters of one of the Friday prime-time sitcoms would "host" the two-hour block of episodes for that week. Always in character, they would introduce each show and comment on the proceedings afterward (sometimes, characters from a sitcom that did not air on a Friday night would appear); occasionally they would find a common thread between each show, e.g. dog riding. In the late 1980s-early 1990s Fall Seasons, various casts would host Saturday Morning Preview Specials, which previewed much of new Saturday morning programming which would air the following day prior to the Disney acquisition of ABC Saturdays.
The runaway success of TGIF led to an early off-shoot lineup on Saturday nights, which ran from February 1 to July 4, 1992. Titled I Love Saturday Night, it launched to provide a new night and time for three of ABC's aging sitcoms, Who's the Boss?, Growing Pains and Perfect Strangers (which was still highly rated, but moved to Saturday to help the declining ratings of Boss and Pains). The newcomer that rounded out the original lineup was the Steven Bochco cartoon Capitol Critters. The latter show was the first to get cancelled, in March; this caused the remaining three shows to switch slots in order to provide a choice time period for a mid-season sitcom, the Head of the Class spinoff Billy, which moved to the lineup (Billy had previously been a part of TGIF from its January 31, 1992 premiere until March). Boss and Pains, meanwhile, had announced the end of their runs in the spring of 1992, but both would remain a part of I Love Saturday Night until summer reruns. These shows aired their finales on Saturday April 25, 1992, along with the series-ending 2 hour episode of MacGyver, airing on this night just once. Both Perfect Strangers and Billy would stay with the lineup after Boss and Pains relocated.
Two new sitcoms joined I Love Saturday Night that spring and summer, Julie starring Julie Andrews (with a future TGIF star, Rider Strong, as Andrews' stepson), and the David Lynch-produced comedy On the Air with Ian Buchanan. The failure of these programs, along with ABC's decision to not renew Billy for a second season and the announcement that Perfect Strangers was going on a long hiatus, meant an early demise for I Love Saturday Night.
Like TGIF, I Love Saturday Night had its own set of branding graphics and a theme song. The intro to the evening began with a red ABC logo encased inside an animated heart, which bounced around, and then off, the screen. Set against various-colored backgrounds (but most commonly blue), the lineup's title was then spelled out in the opening alongside views of animated suns, moons and palm trees. The theme song itself even had a calypso sound to it, with Jamaican-style male vocals. The lyrics were as follows:
S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y.. Saturday Night! I Love Saturday Saturday Night
The last two lines were often sung over the show bumpers that led into the last commercial break of each show.
20/20 always occupied the 10 p.m. spot following TGIF, and because of its positioning and the popularity of the TGIF shows before it, 20/20 would be watched by many children who had been watching the TGIF programs. This led to some common and unfortunate jokes among children, such as when 20/20 devoted an entire hour to the Lorena Bobbitt saga that was watched by many children and teens.
ABC began to see sagging ratings in the TGIF lineup. Popular programs such as Boy Meets World and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch started experiencing declining ratings. New shows joined the lineup, including the likes of Teen Angel and You Wish, which lasted only a season (or less) before they were dropped.
On November 7, 1997, Salem from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch appeared on all four shows in the TGIF lineup and caused the characters in each show to travel back to a different point in time. The former four TGIF lineup episodes were non-canonical because supernatural did not exist in those programs. On a later episode of Boy Meets World, Melissa Joan Hart made a second cameo, as an aside, due to the episode in question involving a coven of witches being thwarted from taking the soul of one of the characters. The cameo features Boy Meets World character Eric describing the event and swearing off witches, not realizing that Sabrina is one.
Musical group Hanson hosted TGIF leading up to their special Meet Hanson. Between the shows it showed them in the studio, "commanding" the shows to come on, and at one point even incorporating TGIF into their mega-hit song "MMMBop".
TGIF returned to the air in Fall 2003 with heavy promotion. This included a promo spot employing the pop tune "YMCA" (sung as T-G-I-F), featuring all four family comedies’ casts seated on a living-room couch. However, although the night was once again branded as TGIF, it did not include the "hosting" segments of the past incarnation. That season’s lineup met with only moderate success, seeing a consistent second- or third-place showing against a popular CBS lineup that included Joan of Arcadia and JAG. By early 2005, ABC had stopped actively promoting the TGIF name, and once again dropped the TGIF block in the fall of 2005.
In Fall of 2005, Hope & Faith continued to air on Friday nights, Less Than Perfect was renewed for midseason 2005-2006 airing (April 2006), and The George Lopez Show was moved to a Tuesday comedy block, then back to its original night of Wednesday. CBS cancelled both Joan and JAG in May 2005.
In 2000, when Sabrina, the Teenage Witch moved to The WB, it also debuted on Friday nights. This was seen to invigorate that network's similarly-targeted Friday sitcom block lineup. The WB's lineup featured the hit shows Reba, Grounded for Life, and What I Like About You.
After finishing syndication periods, remnants of TGIF now occupy the daytime and afternoon lineup on ABC Family. The cable network airs hour long blocks of the sitcoms 8 Simple Rules, Full House, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Family Matters, Step by Step, and Boy Meets World.
Today, ABC's sitcoms are geared toward adult audiences, and not necessarily families. Child oriented sitcoms air on the Disney Channel, which are the most similar to TGIF sitcoms, and often rerun on ABC Kids on Saturday mornings to fulfill E/I requirements.
|Season||8:00 PM||8:30 PM||9:00 PM||9:30 PM||10:00 PM||10:30 PM|
|1985-1986||Fall||Webster||Mr. Belvedere||Diff'rent Strokes||Benson||Spenser: For Hire|
|1986-1987||Fall||Webster||Mr. Belvedere||Sidekicks||Sledge Hammer!||Starman|
|1987-1988||Fall||Full House||Mr. Belvedere||Max Headroom||20/20|
|1988-1989||Fall||Perfect Strangers||Full House||Mr. Belvedere||Just the Ten of Us||20/20|
|1989-1990||Fall||Full House||Family Matters||Perfect Strangers||Just the Ten of Us||20/20|
|1990-1991||Fall||Full House||Family Matters||Perfect Strangers||Going Places||20/20|
|1991-1992||Fall||Family Matters||Step by Step||Perfect Strangers||Baby Talk||20/20|
|1992-1993||Fall||Family Matters||Step by Step||Dinosaurs||Camp Wilder||20/20|
|1993-1994||Fall||Family Matters||Boy Meets World||Step by Step||Hangin' with Mr. Cooper||20/20|
|1994-1995||Fall||Family Matters||Boy Meets World||Step by Step||Hangin' with Mr. Cooper||20/20|
|1995-1996||Fall||Family Matters||Boy Meets World||Step by Step||Hangin' with Mr. Cooper||20/20|
|Spring||Muppets Tonight||Aliens in the Family||Step by Step|
|1996-1997||Fall||Step By Step||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Clueless||Boy Meets World||20/20|
|1997-1998||Fall||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Boy Meets World||You Wish||Teen Angel||20/20|
|1998-1999||Fall||Two of a Kind||Boy Meets World||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Brother's Keeper||20/20|
|1999-2000||Fall||The Hughleys||Boy Meets World||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Odd Man Out||20/20|
|2000-2001||Fall||Two Guys and a Girl||Trouble With Normal||Norm||Madigan Men||20/20|
|2001-2002||Fall||Mole 2: The Next Betrayal / AFV||Thieves||20/20|
|2002-2003||Fall||America's Funniest Home Videos||That Was Then||20/20|
|Spring||8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (repeats)||Unknown|
|2003-2004||Fall||George Lopez||Married to the Kellys||Hope & Faith||Life With Bonnie||20/20|
|Spring||The Big House||The D.A. and 20/20|
|2004-2005||Fall||8 Simple Rules||Complete Savages||Hope & Faith||Less Than Perfect||20/20|
|2005-2006||Fall||Supernanny||Hope & Faith||Hot Properties||20/20|
|Spring||Dancing With the Stars (Results Show) and America's Funniest Home Videos (repeats)||In Justice|
|2006-2007||Fall||America's Funniest Home Videos||Men in Trees||20/20|
|Spring||Grey's Anatomy (repeats)||Six Degrees and Wife Swap (repeats)|
|2007-2008||Fall||Men in Trees||Women's Murder Club||20/20|
|Spring||Grey's Anatomy (repeats)||Duel|