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Why Were So Few 80's Shows Syndicated?

I came of age in the 90's but was watching the 80's documentary from CNN on Netflix. I remember lots of old classics from the 70's and before being rerun on Nick at Nite. Three's Company and I Love Lucy were shown several times a day, yet none of these seminal 80's shows were syndicated. I have some vague memories of watching 80's sitcoms as a child, but was shocked how many shows featured on the documentary I hadn't seen or in some cases hadn't even heard of. 90's shows such as Friends, however, remain extremely popular. Why is that?

by Anonymousreply 84Last Saturday at 1:18 PM

Music rights, for one thing.

by Anonymousreply 106/27/2017

Most 80's sitcoms are terrible. Nearly unwatchable.

by Anonymousreply 206/27/2017

R2: I'd watch almost any of them before I subject myself to [italic]Friends[/italic] which is completely unfunny unwatchable, racist, and homophobic. It should be banned, and if you think it's anything other than a total piece of crap, you're an idiot and a bad person.

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by Anonymousreply 306/27/2017

What are some of the 80s sitcom's that you were exposed to in the documentary and that aren't being syndicated now?

by Anonymousreply 406/27/2017

AutoCorrect added the apostrophe after sitcom and I didn't check before I hit post

by Anonymousreply 506/27/2017

R3 Can't stand that shit, either.

Cheers is the pnly 80's sitcom that matters.

by Anonymousreply 606/27/2017

Not a lot from the eighties sitcom wise that has really stood the test of time.

by Anonymousreply 706/27/2017

There were a lot of them. Cheers, Cosby, Family Ties, Who's The Bosss and Mama's Family were huge.

Many syndicated shows suffer from regional bias. For instance, in Chicago, Newhart and the Golden Girls were never that popular, however the Showtime show Brothers, did very well for the small independent TV station in Chicago WGBO. . In DC, not surprisingly 227 was a huge hit, but not many other places. Just because you didn't see it in your area, doesn't mean it didn't do well in certain markets.

Cable was a huge factor too. To get a good deal you had to syndicate only to OTA stations, but many studios didn't want to exclude cable, so it lowered the prices.

by Anonymousreply 806/27/2017

R7/R6 related to that I think the answer to OPs question is that 80s sitcoms were numerous and missable...

A few stand out:

Cheers Golden Girls Cosby Show Family Ties (maybe the one with Alan Thicke) ?

by Anonymousreply 906/27/2017

Also Designing Women

by Anonymousreply 1006/27/2017

The 1980s was also when stations decided to show talk shows instead of reruns. And VCRs enabled those with the means to afford them who liked them enough to watch them more than once to tape them.

by Anonymousreply 1106/27/2017

As if there were no bad shows in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

by Anonymousreply 1206/27/2017

And Night Court.

Please note: its seems 1984+ produced better 80s sitcoms. but 1980-83 seems a desert...

by Anonymousreply 1306/27/2017

I liked "Amen" and "Night Court".

by Anonymousreply 1406/27/2017

God, Night Court. I remember watching that whilst home alone. Both my parents worked late.

by Anonymousreply 1506/27/2017

Newhart must be on the shortlist, too.

by Anonymousreply 1606/27/2017

80's dramas are even more forgotten then sitcoms. Hill Street Blues, Thirtysomething, Moonlighting, Cagney and Lacy, Magnum P.I, St. Elsewhere, L.A. Law are some examples. Many of those shows have been surpassed by their obvious heir apparents.

I know Designing Women is popular here but don't remember it being shown on TV. Don't remember Night Court or Facts of Life either. Loved Perfect Strangers when it was on the air but don't remember it having much life in syndication. Many of the 80's shows that I remember watching are those that crossed into the 90's like Full House.

by Anonymousreply 1706/27/2017

Golden Girls, Newhart, Night Court, Cosby Show, Family Ties, Designing Women, Growing Pains

Pretty much the stand-outs yes?

by Anonymousreply 1806/27/2017

R13: [italic]Dallas[/italic] and [italic]Magnum PI[/italic] overshadowed even the most successful new sitcoms, and there were lots of flop sitcoms during that era. NBC was willing to nurture a show to let it grow because they had nowhere to go but up. And a lot of the 1970s hits ran longer than they would have had there been more shows to replace them.

[quote]You can't have Who's The Boss AND Growing Pains

You don't need either of them.

by Anonymousreply 1906/27/2017

R19 can we replace both with Too Close for Comfort?

by Anonymousreply 2006/27/2017

A lot of 80's shows were shot on video too and don't look as nice.

by Anonymousreply 2106/27/2017

OTA channels like MeTV, Laff, Antenna TV, Get TV, COZI, and Decades air a lot of 80s shows.

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by Anonymousreply 2206/27/2017
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by Anonymousreply 2306/27/2017

There's also Alf and Mr. Belvedere that never were shown in the 90's.

by Anonymousreply 2406/27/2017
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by Anonymousreply 2506/27/2017

Queeny Hewitt and the muppet are camp but not shortlist material

by Anonymousreply 2606/27/2017

He needed to put down the whoopie pies.

by Anonymousreply 2706/27/2017

As far as drama goes, production quality changed in the early 90s when all prime time shows started to look like films. Now that this standard is what the audience is used to, it's often hard to watch shows from before then - even the big budget shows like Dynasty now look like daytime soaps done on a larger scale.

With comedy, modern sitcoms have pretty much the same production values as later 80s sitcoms did, so there isn't that much of a feeling of watching something quite old, and while the style of humour changed a lot between the 70s and 80s, it didn't change much between the 80s and now, so there's a handfil of late 80s sitcoms that aren't that much of a culture shock of your only used to modern TV (the Golden Girls is one of them).

by Anonymousreply 2806/27/2017

Don't forget about us!

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by Anonymousreply 2906/27/2017

The only current network sitcom I watch is [italic]Fresh off the Boat[/italic]. I honestly find modern shows harder to watch as a whole, and with the best of the older shows are so good you're engrossed in the actual content and not the "happy accidents" on set or the limitations of videotape technology that was state-of-the-art when it was used for sitcoms.

by Anonymousreply 3006/27/2017

You take take the good, you take the bad

You take that cock and, there, you've had

The Facts of Life.

by Anonymousreply 3106/27/2017

R28 Thanks for reminding me about all those primetime soaps like Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing and so on that were not as popular after the 90's. It's odd though, because we still have primetime soaps but they are now considered prestige television.

by Anonymousreply 3206/27/2017

Night Court is on Laff now and is miserably unfunny.

by Anonymousreply 3306/27/2017

The majority of those shows didn't age well. Modern audiences are too cynical for those cheesy family sitcoms with "very special episodes" and laugh tracks.

by Anonymousreply 3406/27/2017

Yet not for boring generic interchangeable shows about basic white twentysomethings obsessed with heterosexual sex and living beyond their means?

by Anonymousreply 3506/27/2017

What about Taxi, wasn't that the best sitcom of the 80s.

Gimme A Break, Kate and Allie, WKRP, Growing Pains and Family Ties, I grew up watching.

Also on the best list were Cheers, Newhart, and the Jeffersons

Three's Company and Mash were great shows that started in the 70s and lost it by the 80s.

on the flip slide, Roseanne and Murphy Brown started in the end of the 80s but were pretty much 90s classic series.

by Anonymousreply 3606/27/2017

If DL is any indication [italic]The Golden Girls[/italic] have held up the best seeing how much of it so many people remember about it.

by Anonymousreply 3706/27/2017

ah didn't mean to forget Cosby Show, or maybe I did mean to. I grew up on it but don't want to watch reruns now.

Golden Girls and Empty Nest too.

by Anonymousreply 3806/27/2017

I was actually watching Cheers on Netflix and I was just running through seasons like candy, couldn't get enough. Only slowed down the 2nd season with Rebecca Howe. She was great early but then they messed up the character.

by Anonymousreply 3906/27/2017

I should also add Fame and 21 Jump Street to the list of shows only seen by people who grew up in that era.

by Anonymousreply 4006/27/2017

Anything But Love, Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and My Two Dads all faded into obscurity.

by Anonymousreply 4106/28/2017

IIRC Molly Dodd is owned by WB and they don't want to bother with it.

by Anonymousreply 4206/28/2017

Antenna TV shows "My Two Dads," "Newhart," and "Three's Company."

"Empty Nest" is on the Laff channel.

MeTV has "MASH" & "Cheers" reruns, and some other re-run channel airs "21 Jump Street."

I didn't read the whole thread, there's probably more.

by Anonymousreply 4306/28/2017

Cheers, Mash, Who's the Boss and Family Ties are in the top ten worst television programs ever made.

Full House or as we used to call it Full Of Shit House is THE absolute worst tv series ever made. The only good thing on it was the dog. It literally seems as if it was made by and for the mentally retarded.

by Anonymousreply 4406/28/2017

80s sitcoms had the best dads

Some of my faves were:

Steven Keaton

Edward Stratton III

Dr Jason Seaver

Al Bundy

Most of these shows do not hold up, but are worth it for nostalgia if you were an 80s kid.

I've been watching silver spoons off my DVR from the LOGO broadcasts in the middle of the night.

It's amazing how many recognizable faces made guest turns on that show!

I saw one the other night that had the following in one party scene:

Matthew Perry

Rob Stone

Adam Rich

Elisabeth Berkeley

by Anonymousreply 4506/28/2017

[quote]Most 80's sitcoms are terrible. Nearly unwatchable.

Most 00's and 10's sitcoms are worse. I'd rather sit through a marathon of Alf than a single episode of 2.5 Men, Broke Girls, Big Bang Theory or anything with Patty Heaston on it.

by Anonymousreply 4606/28/2017

A lot of those 80s sitcoms were horrible, family-friendly schlock with occasional PSA episodes. There are some like Cheers, Newhart, Taxi, Golden Girls, that do not feel like a paean to the Reagan "family values" time but something like Family Ties?? Yuck. Married With Children and Roseanne were the first family-based sitcoms that broke that mould.

by Anonymousreply 4706/28/2017

Maybe it's because they seem so dated. It's odd; there are tv shows from long ago that are timeless: "I Love Lucy", "Star Trek", "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Twilight Zone", "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and others. They're from a distant era, but they've stood the test of time. But stuff from the eighties somehow seems ancient and irrelevant and lame. The eighties were truly an awful, trivial, meaningless decade. I guess that's why tv shows from that time seem so crummy today.

by Anonymousreply 4806/28/2017

R37, Mama's Family would seem just as strong, if not stronger among DL crowd. It's also on Logo as well as MeTV.

Very strange that it has such staying power but MF has surprising comfort watching it, kind of like ILL.

by Anonymousreply 4906/28/2017

I actually think Family Ties had some good writing and memorable episodes. Conversely, I can barely remember a single plotline from any Growing Pains or Who's The Boss episode.

by Anonymousreply 5006/28/2017

You have to hand it to Vicki Lawrence and Beverly Archer. They are this close to being just as good as Lucy and Ethel. Both should have won Emmys. Add Bubba's looks, bulge, and ass and you have a gay wetdream of a sitcom.

by Anonymousreply 5106/28/2017

Most 80s shows don't really hold up, but they're fun for nostalgia and BTS stories.

by Anonymousreply 5206/22/2019

A certain amount of episodes are required to reach syndication status. Even today not that many comedy or dramedy shows reach that status.

by Anonymousreply 5306/22/2019

I fucking hate sit-coms. Always have, always will. Mary Tyler Moore - that's the only good one.

[quote] Many of those shows have been surpassed by their obvious heir apparents.

That's "heirs apparent" dear, there are multiple heirs not multiple apparents.

by Anonymousreply 5406/22/2019

One problem with syndication is all the news on local network affiliates. In the 50s and 60s it was a half hour. In the 70s it was an hour. But starting in the 80s it was 2 to 4 hours of news.

So why spend money on an expensive sitcom, when they can spend money on inexpensive news.

by Anonymousreply 5506/22/2019

The 80s were also the start of tabloid talk shows. They got more controversial and trashy when Jerry Springer came on in the 90s.

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by Anonymousreply 5606/22/2019

[quote] I came of age in the 90's but was watching the 80's documentary from CNN on Netflix. I remember lots of old classics from the 70's and before being rerun on Nick at Nite. Three's Company and I Love Lucy were shown several times a day, yet none of these seminal 80's shows were syndicated. I have some vague memories of watching 80's sitcoms as a child, but was shocked how many shows featured on the documentary I hadn't seen or in some cases hadn't even heard of. 90's shows such as Friends, however, remain extremely popular. Why is that?

Op's premise is faulty.

by Anonymousreply 5706/22/2019

Using the word "modern" to describe something contemporary is so juvenile, r28.

by Anonymousreply 5806/22/2019

r28's post is from 2017, honey, he's LONG gone by now.

by Anonymousreply 5906/22/2019

I haven't watched any sitcoms since i was like 13/14 in the mid-90s. When I go back and watch the sitcoms of my youth, they don't really hold up, but it's fun to talk about them and learn about all the production stories.

by Anonymousreply 6003/27/2020

We can add Valerie/Valerie's Family/The Hogan Family to the list of forgotten 80s sitcom even after Jason Bateman's career blew up.

by Anonymousreply 6109/16/2020

For the dramas, most dramas before the Eighties were a single story all wrapped up in an hour. In the Eighties, the shows had creeping soap opera storyline so events were happening over a cycle of shows rather than in the single episode. When people watch a rerun of a popular show, they don't necessarily want to commit to watching every episode, they'd like a show like the old Perry Mason, where the whole show was resolved in that episode... you don't have to be there three nights later to find out what happened. Quinn Martin productions were good at this. So were the old westerns, cop shows, etc.

by Anonymousreply 6209/16/2020

R61 I love Jason Bateman and he's funny even as a kid. I only watched an episode or two of Valerie when ABC Family reran it for like a month. It had one of the best theme songs of the 80s though performed by the wonderful Roberta Flack. That cheesy yellow Miller-Boyett font.

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by Anonymousreply 63Last Friday at 12:48 PM

A lot of 90s shows were corny too. Most of TGIF and stuff like Home Improvement, Saved by the Bell, Friends, Party of Five, 7th Heaven and Touched by an Angel.

80s shows arent as syndicated because they are too old now and seem distant. 90s nostalgia is bigger and you have Gen X and Y as big consumers and then Gen Z who want to be associated with the 90s for God knows what reason.

Shows from the 90s like Seinfeld, Frasier, Martin, Law and Order and Everybody Loves Raymond will remain timeless though.

by Anonymousreply 64Last Saturday at 2:53 AM

R63 is that Roberta flack singing?

by Anonymousreply 65Last Saturday at 3:08 AM

R65 Yeah and I think her singing the theme song is the most remembered thing of Valerie/Hogan Family.

Miller-Boyett then got lazy and hired the same guy to sing the themes to Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step with that scratchy voice

by Anonymousreply 66Last Saturday at 3:32 AM

WKRP is my favorite of all these shows.

The turkey drop episode is a classic.

I think it gets screwed over because of the music rights.

by Anonymousreply 67Last Saturday at 3:50 AM

You never watched Cosby, then. Or Family Ties. Who’s the Boos, Full House,Silver Spoons, Facts of Life, all rerun for years

by Anonymousreply 68Last Saturday at 4:10 AM

You bitches forgot how good we had it back then!

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by Anonymousreply 69Last Saturday at 4:15 AM

All of the family sitcoms from the 80s are unwatchable dreck. Mr. Belvedere, Growing Pains, Different Strokes etc. Just garbage. Even people who were around back then can't watch them today, never mind younger people.

by Anonymousreply 70Last Saturday at 5:21 AM

Watching old dramas like Hill Street Blues or St. Elsewhere isn't of interest to people who were not around back then. Nobody swears, nobody fucks, there isn't much "real world" stuff going on. It looks archaic and simplistic to people who are used to grittier, modern shows about cops and doctors.

by Anonymousreply 71Last Saturday at 7:40 AM

[quote]I should also add Fame and 21 Jump Street to the list of shows only seen by people who grew up in that era.

Definitely. For young people who are used to We Are Who We Are or Euphoria, those 80s shows must look as ancient and quaint as silent films.

by Anonymousreply 72Last Saturday at 7:42 AM

Small Wonder, Out of this World and Head of the Class

by Anonymousreply 73Last Saturday at 7:48 AM

You clearly don't remember Hill Street Blues or St. Elsewhere, r71.

by Anonymousreply 74Last Saturday at 7:56 AM

I've seen them and they're quite dated r74.

I know DL elders revere anything from that era, but a lot of it hasn't held up.

by Anonymousreply 75Last Saturday at 7:59 AM

R2- Agreed. Friends is horrible. I immediately assume anyone who loves it to be a imbecile.

by Anonymousreply 76Last Saturday at 8:00 AM

I think I might be the only person of my generation who has never seen a complete episode of Friends. From the clips of the show I've seen, it looks pretty dumb.

by Anonymousreply 77Last Saturday at 8:03 AM

Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere hold up, you infant. You sound like one of those morons who won't watch Citizen Kane because it's in black & white.

by Anonymousreply 78Last Saturday at 8:03 AM

R77 I’ve only seen a handful of episodes and hated it. I was in college when Friends was on and all of my dormmates were very much into it. After watching a few episodes, I couldn’t be bothered with such an inane show. Even then, I knew Frasier and Seinfeld were much more superior.

by Anonymousreply 79Last Saturday at 8:17 AM

Very few sitcoms are actually good. They are usually just background noise at best.

Sure we got a few that hold up like All in The Family, Sanford and Son, Golden Girls, 227, Frasier, Seinfeld, The Nanny, Malcolm in the Middle and 30 Rock to name a few.

But still 90% of sitcoms suck and it's usually nostalgia that keeps them in reruns in the first place not their quality.

by Anonymousreply 80Last Saturday at 10:23 AM

Mormons don’t even want to watch 1980s sitcoms.

Mormons play 60s sitcoms for their littlest kids because there’s no sexual innuendo. 80s shows had cheesy sexual innuendo in many of their shows, and kids who were all wise-cracky & disobedient to their dumb parents. Sixties tv parents didn’t take that. They’d say “Now just a darn minute there, son...” And Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies would beat those kids with a broom.

I didn’t know there were at least 4 channels on my cable outlet showing 60s & 70s shows til the other night. I only knew of MeTV. Alice was on one of them and I had forgotten how much I hated that fucking show. When my grandmother visited from Florida she watched Alice & every time Flo said, “Mel, kiss my grits” my grandmother would nearly fall off the chair laughing. Why? She said it last week you know, grandma. And the week before. The canned laughter would also be uproarious for several seconds and Mel would wait a few beats before answering so the folks at home could compose themselves after their spasm of jollity. I’d forgotten how much I wanted to punch Vera in the face whenever she was on camera nodding maniacally. There was this horrendously ugly woman who was Alice’s friend from high school making unfunny jokes in a deadpan monotone. It seemed like it was supposed to be a well-known schtick but the woman delivering the schtick was completely unfamiliar. I wanted to punch her face into Vera’s face.

How did these shows stay on the air for so long?

by Anonymousreply 81Last Saturday at 11:32 AM

[quote]How did these shows stay on the air for so long?

I've wondered that as well. Were there just not a lot of other sitcoms being developed at the time, so these shows didn't have any competition?

by Anonymousreply 82Last Saturday at 12:33 PM

I guess it was the “only 3 networks” thing. The 80/90s put an end to that. And the shows that came on beforehand, ie, The Jefferson’s was the lead-in to Alice. Shows don’t have the same cultural impact anymore.

by Anonymousreply 83Last Saturday at 1:14 PM

When a show does have a cultural impact like Game of Thrones (which I have still never seen two minutes of) or The Crown it's very unusual in this day and age. Back in the day, a shit network sitcom could have an impact like Happy Days etc.

by Anonymousreply 84Last Saturday at 1:18 PM
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