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The Real Reason Family Ties Got Canceled

Popular culture is heavily influenced by TV shows, and the sitcom Family Ties was no exception. Family Ties aired on NBC on September 22nd, 1982, and ended seven seasons later on May 14th, 1989. True to its name, Family Ties was beloved by family members of all ages.

The show followed the Keaton family, which included two ex-hippie parents, Steven and Elyse, and their three children, Alex, Mallory, and Jennifer. Later in the show, Steven and Elyse give birth to a fourth child, Andrew, also known as Andy.

What made the show so hilarious was that the role of child and parent was reversed. While the parents were liberal and hip, the children were conservative and old-fashioned. The creator of the show, Gary David Goldberg, got the idea from the political shift from liberalism to conservatism between the 70s and 80s. Even though the parents and children are so different from one another, they still love each other deeply.

More Than Just A Sitcom

However, the show was more than just a sitcom. Throughout its production, it won five Emmy Awards, five Young Artist Award, and one Golden Globe Award. Furthermore, it was a rarity in its time. Sitcoms about nuclear families were popular between the 50s and 70s, but by the 80s, they were dying out. Gary David Goldberg’s idea created a miniature renaissance in popular television, and it embodied family values in a unique and funny way.

Even though the show usually focused on its comedic side, the writers weren’t afraid to get serious at times. Sometimes, the actors showed the vulnerable sides of their characters as they dealt with issues like alcoholism and death. Many producers and directors agree that part of a good sitcom is knowing when to be serious. Audiences were impressed that the writers were able to touch on serious subjects without compromising the comedic integrity of the show.

However, while many fans of Family Ties might think they know everything there is to know about the show, there are plenty of surprising secrets and behind-the-scenes facts that you probably haven’t heard of! In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at ten facts about Family Ties that you didn’t know. Make sure you stick around until the very end, where we’ll reveal the real reason why the show was canceled.

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Facts Verse Presents: The Real Reason Family Ties Got Canceled

The Creator Based the Show on Real Life

The creator of the show, Gary David Goldberg, got the idea for the show from his own life. Back in the day, he and his wife, Diane Goldberg, were both hippies involved in the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. However, after the movement died down, they both decided to settle down into suburban life. The transition was difficult for both of them, but Gary David Goldberg realized that his experiences would make an amazing television show.

He used the show to compare the difference between the older, more liberal generation, and the younger, more conservative generation. While the show could have easily become a way to make one political party look better than the other, Goldberg wanted it to represent compromise and co-existence. As a result, both liberals and conservatives loved the show dearly.

Michael J. Fox Almost Didn’t Get the Role

Michael J. Fox played Alex P. Keaton, an aspiring millionaire. After Family Ties, he went on to become an amazingly talented actor. However, few people know that he barely landed the role of Alex! The creator of the show, Gary David Goldberg, originally fancied Matthew Broderick for the role, instead. However, Matthew declined the role, as he didn’t want to move to Los Angeles. The producers of the show had loved Michael J. Fox’s audition, and they asked Gary David Goldberg to reconsider.

Goldberg brought him in for a second audition. He had disliked his first impression of Fox, as he felt his portrayal of Alex P. Keaton was too dark. Fox took the note well, however, and his second audition blew Goldberg away. Before long, he was playing the beloved character on the big screen.

Even the President Liked the Show!

The show was beloved among adults, children, liberals, and conservatives alike. At the height of its popularity, a third of the American population regularly watched the show. However, did you know that one of those fans was President Ronald Reagan himself? His endorsement of the show greatly improved its ratings, and many fans of the show hoped that the President would make a guest-star appearance. Ronald Reagan was a famous movie star before he became President, but despite his love of Family Ties, he never made an appearance. If you’re surprised that the show even made an impression on the President, click the like button to let us know!

Today, Tom Hanks is one of the most well-known actors in the country. However, at the start of Family Ties, he was barely more than a nobody. He had acted in a few films, but most of them turned out to be flops. However, he guest-starred in Family Ties as Elyse Keaton’s brother, Ned Donnelly, between 1983 and 1984. It wasn’t until 1988 when he fully achieved stardom for his performance in Big.

5. Two of the Show’s Co-Star Married in Real Life

Tracy Pollan was introduced later in the show as Alex Keaton’s love interest, Ellen Reed. When the actors first met, Tracy Pollan confessed that she thought Michael was full of himself. After working together for some time, however, she realized that she quite enjoyed his company. In an interview, Michael admitted that he had a crush on Tracy the moment he met her. The two only grew closer throughout the show, and on July 16, 1988, they got married! They had four children together, and they are still happily in love. It’s truly amazing how much a television show can impact the actors’ lives.

Nick Accidentally Became a Recurring Character

Scott Valentine played the character Nick Moore, who was introduced as Mallory’s boyfriend. At first, the writers only intended his character to appear for a short time. However, the crew thought he fit well with the cast, and the audience quickly fell in love with his character. As a result, he became a recurring character on the show. The producers even tried to create a spinoff series based on his character three different times, but they only ever got as far as a pilot.

However, Scott Valentine had mixed feelings about his role. He admitted in an interview that he felt he was paid too much, as his character often did little more than grunt.

Michael J. Fox Took Desperate Measures to Get to Work

During the first season of Family Ties, Michael J. Fox didn’t own a car, meaning he didn’t have any transportation to get to the set. He lived in Brentwood at the time, which was way too far to walk all the way to Hollywood. As we all know, desperate times call for desperate measures. To get to work on time, Michael often had to hitchhike to the set! Of course, his salary from Family Ties was enough that he could invest in a car during the second season. It’s crazy to think about such humble origins from such a famous actor!

Most of the Cast Members of Stand By Me Appeared on Family Ties

The iconic coming-of-age film Stand By Me, which debuted in 1986, featured the main cast of four boys; Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, and Jerry O’Connell. However, that film isn’t the only connection the actors had with one another. Every actor from the main cast, except for Jerry O’Connell, appeared in episodes of Family Ties at some point. Incidentally, they all acted in episodes focused on Jennifer’s character. It’s too bad Jerry O’Connell never made an appearance. We hope he didn’t feel too left out!

Michael J. Fox Was a Busy Man

Michael J. Fox simultaneously filmed Family Ties and the movie Back to the Future. This talented actor worked so hard on both roles that he hardly got more than three hours of sleep a night! He would often work on both projects on the same day! Of course, his hard work ended up being well worth it in the end. His role in Back to the Future earned him even more fame than his role as Alex P. Keaton. After Back to the Future, he was offered more roles than he could even imagine!

The Real Reason the Show Ended

Even long after a show has ended, many ensemble casts are forced to get together again for reunion episodes or feature films. All of the actors who played the Keaton family came up with a clever plan to prevent a reunion from ever happening. They often joked that they wanted the show to end with the family dying in a plane crash! Of course, the producers knew that would be a terrible idea, and they ended the show on a more wholesome note.

The real reason the show ended was that the show’s ratings dropped drastically after season five. At one point, it was second place in television ratings. However, NBC moved the time slot, and audiences stopped watching. Sadly, the ratings dropped so low that they had to cancel the show after the seventh season.

Family Ties was a wonderfully hilarious and heartwarming sitcom. Were you more surprised to learn that Michael J. Fox married his co-star, or that Tom Hanks guest-starred on the show? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!

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