Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Family Ties was an American television sitcom which aired on NBC for seven seasons, from 1982 to 1989. At the height of its popularity, the program was #2 in the yearly Nielsen ratings for two straight seasons (1985-86 and 1986-87).
It starred Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross as Elyse and Steven Keaton . Elyse was a very successful architect and Steven ran a public television station; both were former flower children. They lived in Columbus, Ohio with their three children: Alex Keaton (played by Michael J. Fox), Mallory Keaton (played by Justine Bateman), and Jennifer Keaton (played by Tina Yothers).
The majority of the show's humor is derived from the tension between Alex's (Michael J. Fox) conservative, Republican mindset, Mallory's uninformed consumerism, and their parents' attitudes as liberal Democrats.
In 1984, Elyse found out that she was pregnant, and much comedy came from all the children: Alex thought Elyse was too old to be having children, Mallory thought her mother would seriously cramp her social life, and Jennifer didn't want the new baby at first because she wanted to stay the baby of the family. Elyse gave birth to Andrew Keaton in 1985, and the child was aged to a pre-schooler (played by Brian Bonsall) in 1987.
Other characters included Alex's best friend Skippy Handelman , who had an undying crush on Mallory, and in later years, budding artist Nick Moore , who became romantically involved with Mallory and alarmed various members of the family with how unknowingly crass and unmannered he could be. The final two seasons also featured Courteney Cox as Lauren Miller, a love interest for Alex.
Family Ties was broadcast on Thursday nights from 1984 until 1987, immediately following the top-rated program The Cosby Show and just before the also wildly popular sitcom Cheers. That period represented the height all three programs' popularity; they were, for example, the top three most-watched U.S. television programs during the 1986-87 season, when 33% of all U.S. households with televisions tuned in to Family Ties during an average week.
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