The Very Best Of

Top 10 TGIF shows from its first two eras

Top 10 TGIF shows from its first two eras
Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage each garnered multiple Young Artist Award nominations in the name of Boy Meets World. In all, the series amassed 14 nods from that guild during its six-year run on TGIF. (Photo by Brenda Chase/Online USA via Getty Images)

Fresh Off the Boat is the logical favorite to make the third go-round of ABC’s TGIF resemble the block’s original run.

Defying the dreaded “Friday night death slot” throughout the 1990s and two bookending half-years, the first TGIF coincided with slews of Young Artist nominations and wins. Some series from that run and a brief mid-2000s revival also made waves at the Image Awards.

Through three seasons, Fresh off the Boat has multiple hunks of hardware from the former. After the show’s inaugural 2015-16 season, Luna Blaise won in the 14-to-21 age group for outstanding recurring actresses. Three mainstays — Ian Chen, Forest Wheeler and Hudson Yang — shared an ensemble prize.

Yang has twice been nominated for an Image on his own. In addition, guest performer Trevor Larcom claimed a Young Artist accolade in 2017.

Starting this Friday, that track record will test itself, along with TGIF coming out of a 13-year hiatus. Fellow veteran sitcom Speechless is also in, supplementing the first hour before the game show Child Support.

Any major Emmy or Golden Globe victory for these new-age TGIF members would automatically exceed the legacies of any predecessor. Even so, the ceiling is not as low as the death-slot supersitition would dictate.

Based solely on individual and collective cast and crew recognition from a given show’s TGIF era, these are the 10 standard-setters. All dates and award information are according to the Internet Movie Database.

10. Dinosaurs (1990-93)
For its first of three-plus seasons, all as part of TGIF, Dinosaurs savored one Emmy win out of two nominations. The art direction team’s work on the second episode was rewarded while editor Marco Zappia was nominated for his job.

9. Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper (1993-96)
Already armed with an ASCAP and BMI Award, Mr. Cooper shuffled to TGIF for its sophomore season. Over the next three years, the cast and crew amassed five Young Artist and one Image (for Raven-Symoné) nomination. None of those, however, yielded a win.

8. The Hughleys (1999-00)
The Hughleys’ second of four seasons was its only year on TGIF before the block went dormant. But 1999-00 was also a breakout year on the awards circuit.

Within that season, the show landed three Young Artist and four Image nominations, including best comedy series in both. Although none of those seven nods from the 2000 award cycle would turn into hardware.

7. Step by Step (1991-97)
TGIF relinquished this program two years too soon to share in its long-awaited Young Artist victory. Over its first six seasons, the young cast combined for 13 nominations in seven cateogories.

Most notably, the ensemble was up for group recognition after both the first and third season. Individually, Staci Keanan gained three nominations while Brandon Call, Christopher Castle and Angela Watson were up twice apiece.

6. George Lopez (2003-04)
Beginning with his show’s only season on TGIF, the title star drew four straight Image nominations. That year Lopez and his ensemble were also nominated for their respective categories at the BET Comedy Awards.

At the 2004 Young Artist Awards, Lopez and Constance Marie shared a bid for the title of most popular TV parents. Their onscreen daughter, Masiela Lusha, defended her title as the guild’s pick for leading young actress.

Behind the camera, Peter Smokler’s cinematography drew George Lopez its first Emmy nomination. The show only drew one more of those over its three post-TGIF seasons.

5. Life with Bonnie (2003-04)
The second half of this show’s short-and-sweet lifespan coincided with the first TGIF revival. Within that overlap, title player Bonnie Hunt was up for lead-acting prizes at the Emmys and Golden Globes.

That second season also fetched Young Artist nominations for the series collectively and for actor Charlie Stewart.

4. Full House (1989-91)
Bob Saget’s first ABC vehicle drove to Friday night at TGIF’s inception before shuffling back to midweek.

Naturally, the series would last for eight solid seasons, culminating in 1995. But it spent its first quarter and last half premiering on Tuesdays.

While it was on the signature block, it saw composers Bennett Salvay and Jeff Franklin share a BMI Award in its name. In addition, the actors playing the Tanner children and friends combined for four wins out of seven Young Artist nominations.

3. Family Matters (1989-97)
Based on tenure alone, the inimitable Steve Urkel was the definitive TGIF character in its first run. In fact, he directly or indirectly crossed over to three neighbors on the ABC block.

Although two other staple shows were more consistent on the awards front, Jaleel White kept standing out. Even after the recognition died down elsewhere, he was up for an Image Award in each of the show’s last four years. He started by winning back-to-back titles of outstanding youth actor, then moved up to the lead sitcom category. He would fall short in 1996, but then win in 1997.

White would also win the 1991 Young Artist prize for outstanding young comedian in a TV series. As it happened, that was his lone nomination in that realm. But his castmates combined for two wins out of 13 candidacies in the show’s four seasons.

Offscreen, composer Bennett Salvay won consecutive BMIs for his contributions to the show’s second and third seasons. Later, in 1996, special-effects connoisseur Kelly Sandefur accounted for the program’s lone Emmy nomination.

2. Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2000)
Eligible for Saturns, Sabrina saw title performer Melissa Joan Hart gain consideration for best genre TV actress after its freshman season. In the same awards cycle, costume designer Diane Kennedy was up for an Emmy in her category.

Naturally, the show’s title also gives away its Young Artist qualifications. Within that guild, Hart triumphed as the best leading young performer in 1997 and 1998. The show won best family comedy series in 1998, and nearly repeated in 1999.

In all, Hart and company aggregated four wins in eight Young Artist nominations before TGIF went dormant.

1. Boy Meets World (1993-99)
At least one core, supporting or one-off performer represented this program at every Young Artist show in its run. The series collectively gained consideration for 1994’s best new TV series while three actors were nominated in individual categories.

By the end of the third season, Boy Meets World actors had seen eight different cast members appeared on one Young Artist ballot apiece. That 1996 awards campaign also saw the show’s first victory in Justin Thomson for his guest spot.

Leading actor Ben Savage and supporters Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong each earned their second nominations in 1997. Two years later, right before leaving TGIF, the show had another award-winning guest star in Jarrett Lennon. That made for two Young Artist wins in 14 total nominations over its Friday-night era.

Al Daniel

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