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“Family Ties” (September 22, 1982 – May 14, 1989)

BRIEF SERIES DESCRIPTION

The day to day happenings of your not-so-typical 1980’s family with liberal parents and (for the most poart) conservative children. (Until Jennifer grows up, anyway)

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GENERAL PROGRAM INFORMATION

GENRE: Situation Comedy
SETTING: Columbus, Ohio
FILMING LOCATION: NBC Studios, CA
STATION: NBC
AIR DATES: September 22, 1982 – May 14, 1989
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 176
NORMAL RUNNING TIME: 30 Minutes

CREW AND OTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION

CREATOR: Gary David Goldberg
PRODUCER: Susan Borowitz, Lloyd Garver & Michael J. Weithorn
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: June Galas
LINE PRODUCER: Carol Sledz Himes
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Gary DAvid Goldberg
PRODUCTION COMPANY: UBU Productions
DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Television
FILM EDITOR:
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert F. Liu & Mikel Neiers
OTHER ORIGINAL MUSIC: Dominic Messinger, J.A.C. Redford (1989) & Rick Rhodes

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CAST :: CHARACTER NAME…ACTOR NAME

Elyse Keaton…Meredith Baxter-Birney
Steven Keaton…Michael Gross
Alex P. Keaton…Michael J. Fox
Mallory Keaton…Justine Bateman
Jennifer Keaton…Tina Yothers
Andrew Keaton…Brian Bonsall
Erwin ‘Skippy’ (Blue Boy) Handelman…Marc Price
Ellen Reed…Tracy Pollan (1985-1986)
Nick Moore…Scott Valentine (1985-1989)
Lauren Miller…Courtney Cox (1986-1989)
Michael J. Fox’s Stand-In…Charles Croughwell

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AWARDS AND HONORS

Young Artists Awards, 1983

NOMINEE: Tina Yothers
CATEGORY: Actress in a New Comedy Series
RESULT: Nominated

Humanitas Prize, 1984

NOMINEE: Gary David Goldberg & Alan Unger
CATEGORY: 30 Minute Program
RESULT: Won

Young Artist Awards, 1984

NOMINEE: Marc Price
CATEGORY: Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Nominated

NOMINEE: Tina Yothers
CATEGORY: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Nominated

Emmy Awards, 1985

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Nominated

Young Artist Awards, 1985

NOMINEE: Justine Bateman
CATEGORY: Actress in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

NOMINEE: Tina Yothers
CATEGORY: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

Emmy Awards, 1986

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

NOMINEE: Justine Bateman
CATEGORY: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Nominated

Golden Globe Awards, 1986

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Best Actor in a TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

NOMINEE: Family Ties
CATEGORY: Best TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

Viewers for Quality Television Awards, 1986

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

Young Artist Awards, 1986

NOMINEE: Marc Price
CATEGORY: Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

The Emmy Awards, 1987

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

NOMINEE: Justine Bateman
CATEGORY: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Nominated

Humanitas Prize, 1987

NOMINEE: Gary David Goldberg & Alan Unger
CATEGORY: 60 Minute Program
RESULT: Won

Golden Globe Awards, 1987

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Actor in a TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

NOMINEE: Justine Bateman
CATEGORY: Supporting Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

NOMINEE: Family Ties
CATEGORY: Best TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

Viewers for Quality Television Awards, 1987

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

Young Artist Awards, 1987

NOMINEE: Adam Carl & Phillip Boutte
CATEGORY: Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor Guest Starring in a TV Series
RESULT: Nominated

Directors Guild of America Awards, 1988

NOMINEE: Tony Csiki, Will Mackenzie & Andrew McCullough
CATEGORY: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series: “My Name is Alex”
RESULT: Won

Emmy Awards, 1988

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
RESULT: Won

Golden Globe Awards, 1988

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Best Actor in a TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

NOMINEE: Family Ties
CATEGORY: Best TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Nominated

Young Artist Awards, 1988

NOMINEE: Brian Bonsall
CATEGORY: Actor Under 10 Years of Age in a Television Show or Motion Picture
RESULT: Won

NOMINEE: Family Ties
CATEGORY: Best Family Comedy
RESULT: Nominated

NOMINEE: River Phoenix
CATEGORY: Best Actor, Guest Starring in a Television Series
RESULT: Nominated

Golden Globe Awards, 1989

NOMINEE: Michael J. Fox
CATEGORY: Best Actor in a TV Comedy or Musical
RESULT: Won (tied with Judd Hirsch of Dear John and Richard Mulligan of Empty Nest)

Young Artist Awards, 1989

NOMINEE: Brian Bonsall
CATEGORY: Actor Under 10 Years of Age in a Television Show or Motion Picture
RESULT: Won

NOMINEE: Kayland Romero
CATEGORY: Best Actor, Guest Starring in a Television Series
RESULT: Nominated

Young Artist Awards, 1990

NOMINEE: Brian Bonsall
CATEGORY: Actor Under 10 Years of Age in a Television Show or Motion Picture
RESULT: Won

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EXTRAS

Trivia

Character/Story Trivia: Steven & Elyse were arrested three times during the 1960’s for their involvement in subversive activities.

Actor/Behind-the-Scenes Trivia: Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross share the same birthday: June 21, 1947

The show was originally pitched to CBS who turned it down.

Mathew Broderick was the first choice to play Alex P. Keaton. However, he did not wish to be tied down to a series.

Justine Bateman had no prior professional acting experience. The only reason she was at the auditions was because she accompanied her brother, Jason Bateman, who was auditioning for the role of Alex.

Michael J. Fox was originally rejected for the role of Alex P. Keaton by both Gary David Goldberg and NBC Programming Chief Brandon Tartikoff. Tartikoff said of Fox, “That’s a face you’ll never see on a lunch box.” The Casting Director, Judith Weiner, asked Goldberg to see Fox again and he finally relented. Fox’s second audition was much better. Goldberg said of Fox’s second audition; “I like to use basketball terminology and I can say that Michael is like me – terrible in practice but much better in actual game on the court…Michael floored me with his talent.” Goldberg fought to include him on the program, which could have cost him the show entirely. He prevailed and in later years, Tartikoff kept a lunch box on his desk emblazoned with Michael J. Fox’s face.

The original premise of the show centered around former radicals becoming yuppie parents. However, bigger laughs came from ordinary family interaction and Alex. By the third episode they knew Michael J. Fox was their key. From then on, these two things were emphasized: 1) Family Interplay and 2) Alex P. Keaton.

Family Ties was an extention of Gary David Goldberg’s relationship with his life partner, Meehan. They met in the late ’60’s and protested the Vietnam War at Berkely. They ‘went straight’ in 1975, although they never married.

Meredith Baxter-Birney’s contract was up one year before the show ended. It was uncertain whether or not she would return for the final season. She was the least happy with the show and the least involved.

Sources: “Keeping Alex Awful…Yet So Loveable” by Bill Davidson of TV Guide, March 7, 1987

Quotes

I’m glad Nick and I are so compatible. It’s like we have one mind, you know? Like we share one brain.

Who’s using it tonight?

–Mallory and Alex

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Old grudges die hard, don’t they Keaton?

What?

You still can’t get over my beating you in the regional spelling bee in the third grade.

You didn’t beat me. I simply refused to spell Democrat.

–James and Alex

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There was a feeling coming into that kitchen. Walking in there was like walking into a hug.

–Alex P. Keaton

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The meaning of life? That’s simple. Try to be happy, try not to hurt other people and hope to fall in love.

–Mallory Keaton, “Alex Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”

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He doesn’t have to make you a loser to be a winner himself.

–Alex P. Keaton on Steven Keaton

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Being behind “(The)Cosby(Show)” is not a bad place to be. I’m not defensive, but we keep the audience from his show. We’re proud of the work we do and don’t feel we’re a success because of charity. We’re in the Top 10 because of the audience we inherit from ‘Cosby’, but we certainly hold our own.

–Michael J. Fox on Family Ties’ success, TV Guide, March 7, 1981

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I also discovered, in the third show we taped before we went on the air, that Michael J. fox was my heavy hitter. In that show, the parents were out of town and Alex took command of the family – with a vengence. The studio nearly fell down laughing.

–Gary David Goldberg on Michael J. Fox, TV Guide, March 7, 1981

“Without Us” Lyrics

Written by Jeff Barry & Tom Scott
Performed by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams

I bet we’ve been together for a million years.
And I bet we’ll be together for a million more.

Oh, it’s like I started breathing on the night we kissed,
And I can’t remember what I ever did before.

What’ll we do baby, without us?
What’ll we do baby, without us?

And there ain’t no nothin’ we can’t love each other through.

What’ll we do baby without us?

Sha la la la

The “Family Ties” Family Tree

Picture Gallery

Episode Guides (See Pages Below)

I am a genius

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide – Production Order

Back to “Family Ties” Air Order numbers 69-72 were assigned to the television film “Family Ties Vacation“ PRODUCTION NUMBER :: AIRING ORDER :: EPISODE TITLE 001 :: 001 :: Pilot 002 :: 022 :: Elyse D’Arc 003 :: 003 :: I Know Jennifer’s Boyfriend 004 :: 002 :: Not With My Sister You Don’t 005 …

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Family Ties: Stage Fright

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 1

Back to “Family Ties” PRODUCTION NUMBER :: 001 EPISODE TITLE :: Pilot ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: September 22, 1982 GUEST STARS :: Cindy Fisher as Kimberly Blanton; John Petlock as Preston Blanton; Toni Sawyer as Emily Blanton; Maurice Marsac as Roger WRITER :: Gary David Goldberg DIRECTOR :: Asaad Kelada PLOT DESCRIPTION :: In the …

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Family Ties: Speed Trap

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 2

Back to “Family Ties” PRODUCTION NUMBER :: 023 EPISODE TITLE :: Tender is the Knight ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: September 28, 1983 GUEST STARS :: Talia Balsam as Carrie Newman; Susan Bay as Julia Newman; Chris Nash as Victor; Kelly Ann Conn as Sherry WRITER :: Ruth Bennett DIRECTOR :: Sam Weisman PLOT DESCRIPTION :: …

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Family Ties: Auntie Up

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 3

Back to “Family Ties” PRODUCTION NUMBER :: 047 EPISODE TITLE :: Here We Go Again ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: September 27, 1984 GUEST STARS :: Marc Price as Irwin “Skippy” Handelman WRITER :: Ruth Bennett & Alan Uger DIRECTOR :: John Pasquin PLOT DESCRIPTION :: It’s fortunate this is a ‘Family’ show, eh? Elyse breaks …

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Family Ties: The Real Thing

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 4

Back to “Family Ties” PRODUCTION NUMBER :: 074 EPISODE TITLE :: The Real Thing Part 1 ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: September 26, 1985 GUEST STARS :: Suzanne Snyder as Tricia Armstrong; Marc Price as Irwin “Skippy” Handelman; Tracy Pollan as Ellen Reed WRITER :: Michael J. Weithorn DIRECTOR :: Will Mackenzie PLOT DESCRIPTION :: Alex, …

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Family Ties: Mrs. Wrong Part 2

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 5

Back to “Family Ties” PRODUCTION NUMBER :: 100 EPISODE TITLE :: Be True to Your Preschool ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: September 25, 1986 GUEST STARS :: Jennifer Salt as Mrs. Kluger; Joan McMurtrey as Mrs. Kaufman; Philip Boutte as Michael; Ashley Bank as Rhonda; Marc Price as Irwin “Skippy” Handelman WRITER :: Marc Lawrence DIRECTOR …

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Family Ties: The Last of the Red Hot Psychologist Part 1

“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 6

Back to “Family Ties” PRODUCTION NUMBER :: 126 & 127 EPISODE TITLE :: The Last of the Red Hot Psychologists Part 1 & 2 ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: September 13, 1987 GUEST STARS :: Courtney Cox as Lauren Miller; Fess Reynolds as Reggie; Masakio as Chester WRITER :: Marc Lawrence DIRECTOR :: Sam Weisman PLOT …

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“Family Ties”: Episode Guide Season 7

Back to “Family Ties” EPISODE NUMBER :: 154 EPISODE TITLE :: It Happened One Night ORIGINAL AIR DATE :: October 20, 1998 GUEST STARS :: Courtney Cox as Lauren Miller; Scott Valentine as Nick Moore WRITER :: Marc Lawrence DIRECTOR :: Matthew Diamond PLOT DESCRIPTION :: With the pressures of life and politics weighing on …

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