80s First: FOX TV Network - Rediscover the 80s

80s First: FOX TV Network

80s First: FOX Broadcasting Company

April 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of prime time programming on the FOX television network. The first program, The Late Show starring Joan Rivers, actually began in October 1986. The show started out with pretty good ratings, but rapidly dwindled in just a few months. However, the first couple primetime shows helped FOX survive until the early 90s, where the network's success rivaled the other three major networks. Here's a look back at a few of the first FOX shows and details about the upcoming 25th Anniversary Special!

Married... With Children 
(1987-1997, 11 seasons, 256 episodes)
Over the course of its run, Married... With Children was a sit-com that continued to push the envelope. The show was famously boycotted and lost advertisers in 1989, but FOX refused to cancel the show. Although it never received high ratings, battling against popular shows like Murder She Wrote, the show is revered by Time and Entertainment Weekly as one of the top 100 tv shows of all time.

The Tracy Ullman Show
(1987-1990, 4 seasons, 81 episodes)
Although it lasted only 4 seasons, The Tracey Ullman Show took home three Emmy awards. The sketch comedy show featured choreography from Paula Abdul, of which she won one of the aforementioned Emmy awards. Of course, the show is also well-known for airing the first short episodes of The Simpsons which is now the longest running tv series ever. 

21 Jump Street 
(1987-1991, 5 seasons, 103 episodes)
Unlike the recent movie remake, 21 Jumpstreet was a crime drama and not an action comedy. Star Johnny Depp became a reluctant teen idol and eventually left the show after season 4 when his contract expired. The show also produced the spin-off show Booker starring Richard Grieco, which lasted just one season from 1989-90.

25th Anniversary Special 
(press release)
FOX’s 25th Anniversary Special will take an entertaining look back at the groundbreaking and irreverent shows that have defined the network since its first signal transmission on April 5, 1987. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the star-studded special will pay tribute to FOX’s most memorable moments with appearances by FOX talent, highlights from iconic series and specials and reunions with cast members from some of the network’s fan-favorite series. Talent scheduled to appear include Calista Flockhart from Ally McBeal; Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from American Idol; Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley and Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills, 90210; Seth MacFarlane from Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad; Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal from Married With Children; Kiefer Sutherland from 24; and Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and creator Chris Carter from The X-Files. The two-hour special will air Sunday, April 22 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.


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80s First: FOX TV Network 80s First: FOX TV Network Reviewed by Jason Gross on 6:59:00 AM Rating: 5


  1. Early Fox network was so awesome! They had cutting edge shows that were totally against the norm of the "Big Three" networks at the time. My favorite shows from the network included "The New Adventures of Beans Baxter", "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" & "The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr.". Oh, and let's not forget "Second Chance" which later became "Boys Will Be Boys", a pre-Friends star vehicle for one Matthew Perry.

    I remember this early promo for Fox network that featured the stars from most of their shows that went "Don't let Fox weekend pass you by!"-- wonder if that's available anywhere?

    1. I didn't watch too many show on FOX at the very beginning. My dad was a huge Married With Children fan so remember watching it. I didn't get into it until In Living Color and Cops...

  2. My mother used to love watching "Ally McBeal" and of course I loved the show that she hated, which was "Married With Children". We both like watching shows that come on FOX, so that’s why I bought us both a Hopper. I work for Dish and I can tell you that the Hoppers PrimeTime Anytime feature automatically records my prime time shows that come on CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX everyday in HD. I can record six shows at once and skip my PrimeTime Anytime commercials.