The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
The A-Z of Television in the '80s (F)
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(NBC; 8.17.89-6.28.90)
Robert Hays (of Airplane! fame) starred as Ted Costas, program director of a small Washington, DC radio station. His fellow workers included a conservative talk-show host, a sexy office assistant (DeLane Matthews) and his ex-wife, hired to co-host another talk show.
The Facts of Life
(NBC; 8.24.79-9.10.88)
Spinoff from Diff'rent Strokes with Charlotte Rae reprising her role as Edna Garrett, now housemother at a prestigious school for young women -- including spoiled, attractive Blair (Lisa Whelchel), plump and impressionable Natalie (Mindy Cohn), Jo (Nancy McKeon) and Tootie (Kim Fields.) This popular half-hour sitcom had a legion of fans who delighted in watching these four girls grow up during the '80s. (209 episodes)
Falcon Crest
(CBS; 12.4.81-5.17.90)
Prime-time soap set in California's fictional Tuscany Valley, where matriarch Angela Channing (Jane Wyman) presided over the Falcon Crest winery and tried to manipulate family, business associates and enemies. The cast included  Robert Foxworth, Lorenzo Lamas, Mel Ferrer, David Selby, Cliff Robertson, Parker Stevenson, Morgan Fairchild and Cesar Romero, to name but a few. (227 hour-long episodes.)
The Fall Guy
Featured Series
(NBC; 1.7.82-8.4.83
& Syndicated 1983-87))
The setting: New York's High School for the Performing Arts. The story: the hopes and aspirations of a group of students played by the likes of Erica Gimpel, Lee Curreri, and Cynthia Gibb. Others who appeared in this critically acclaimed, hour-long drama were Lori Singer, Janet Jackson (1984-85) and Nia Peeples (1984-87).
Family Classics
(ABC; 3.23.89-6.1.89)
This short-lived program was actually a Thursday night movie, with the focus on wholesome family entertainment, and featuring such films as The Shaggy Dog (1959).
Family Double Dare
(FOX; 4.3.88-7.23.88)
A game show in which two families competed against one another by performing (usually messy) stunts. The winning family won a cash prize and was then asked a question worth more money, which they could answer or "dare" the other family to try. Apart from its brief stint on Fox, the show also aired on Nickelodeon for 482 episodes (1986-90).
Family Man
(ABC; 3.18.88-4.29.88)
This half-hour sitcom starred Richard Libertini as a TV comedy writer who worked at home. He had a wife and two children, and beyond that we don't know because the series was cancelled after a few weeks.
Family Ties
Featured Series
The Family Tree
(NBC; 1.22.83-8.10.83)
An hour-long drama with veteran TV actor Frank Converse as Kevin Nichols, a successful businessman who had been divorced once and was trying to succeed in a new relationship with a woman who was also divorced (Anne Archer). James Spader starred as Kevin's teenaged son Jake.
Fantasy Island
(ABC; 1.28.78-8.18.84)
Love Boat on a tropical island where the suave and mysterious Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban), aided by his factotum, Tattoo (Herve Villechaize), played host to guests who were usually trying to deal with some aspect of love and relationships. The show was filmed at a public park, the Arboretum, not far from L.A. Just about everyone in guest-starred, or so it seemed. (157 hour-long episodes)
Fast Times
(CBS; 3.5.86-4.23.86)
Based on the hit teen flick Fast Times at Ridgemont High, this half-hour sitcom had Dean Cameron taking the place of Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli while Ray Walston reprised his role as Mr. Arnold Hand. Patrick Dempsey, who would graduate into feature films, starred as Mike Damone, the school's resident con artist.
Father Dowling Mysteries
(NBC; 1.20.89-9.5.91)
Tom Bosley (Happy Days) returned to TV in the title role, an amiable Chicago priest who dabbled in solving crime, with the help of streetwise Sister Steve (Tracy Nelson). The series was based on the Father Dowling mystery novels penned by Ralph McInerny. (45 hour-long episodes)
Father Murphy
(NBC; 11.3.81-6.17.84)
Produced by Michael Landon, this family-oriented drama starred Merlin Olsen in the title role. Murphy posed as a priest to run an orphanage in the Dakota Territory, circa 1870. Moses Gunn played Murphy's friend, and Katherine Cannon starred as a teacher at the orphanage who later became Mrs. Murphy. (35 hour-long episodes)
Fathers and Sons
(NBC; 4.6.86-5.4.86)
This limited-run series had Merlin Olsen playing a little-league coach who served as a worthy role model not only for his son but for his son's three friends, as well.
Filthy Rich
(CBS; 8.9.82-6.15.83)
A send-up of the numerous primetime soaps of the decade, this show featured Slim Pickens and then Forrest Tucker (because Pickens died after only a few episodes had been filmed) as Big Guy Beck, the cryogenically-frozen founder of a family fortune whose will put severe restrictions on his largely devious heirs. Delta Burke also starred as Big Guy's sexy young widow.
Finder of Lost Loves
(ABC; 9.22.84-8.24.85)
Tony Franciosa starred as Cary Maxwell, a wealthy widower who sought to reunite star-crossed lovers in an hour-long romantic drama that had the look and feel of Fantasy Island and Love Boat -- perhaps because all three programs were produced by Aaron Spelling. Each episode of this hour-long series had two or three concurrent storylines.
A Fine Romance
(ABC; 1.18.89-3.16.89)
Filmed on location in Europe, this hour-long adventure had two hosts of a popular travel show gallivanting around the continent solving mysteries along the way. Starred Margaret Whitton and Christopher Cazenove.
First Impressions
(CBS; 8.27.88-10.1.88)
This half-hour summer replacement sitcom focused on the life of a divorced father (Brad Garrett) who was trying to get his own business, based on his talent as an impressionist, off the ground in Omaha, Nebraska.
Fitz and Bones
(NBC; 10.24.81-11.14.81)
Dick and Tom Smothers played an ambitious investigative reporter and his bumbling cameraman working for a San Francisco television station. Diana Muldaur was also in the cast, playing a businesslike news editor.
Flamingo Road
(NBC; 1.6.81-7.13.82)
Produced by the company that brought us Dallas, this was another of those ubiquitous primetime soaps. Set in a small Florida town, it starred Howard Duff as Sheriff Titus Semple, a guy who tried to manipulate just about everybody else in the community, including the wealthy Weldons. Also starred Kevin McCarthy, Morgan Fairchild, Mark Harmon and Barbara Rush. Based a 1949 movie starred Joan Crawford. (37 hour-long episodes, plus pilot)

(CBS; 3.24.80-7.21.81)
A spin-off  of Alice, this one has Flo Castleberry (Polly Holliday) leaving the employ of Mel's Diner to run her own place, a rundown Texas roadhouse christened Flo's Yellow Rose. Geoffrey Lewis costarred as Earl, the bartender, who didn't cotton to workin' for no woman. (27 half-hour episodes)

Foley Square
(CBS; 12.11.85-7.23.86)
Half-hour sitcom set in the Manhattan's DA office, with Margaret Colin leading the cast as Assistant DA Alex Harrigan and Hector Elizondo playing her boss, Jesse Steinberg. Michael Lemberg played Peter, a teacher and Alex's neighbor/love interest. (14 half-hour episodes)
Foot in the Door
(CBS; 3.28.83-5.2.83)
This half-hour sitcom was an American version of the UK show Tom, Dick & Harriet, with Harold Gould as skirt-chasing widower Jonah Foot, who moved into the Manhattan apartment of his son, a conservative ad agency copywriter, and daughter-in-law, a department store buyer. Kenneth Gilman and Diana Canova co-starred.
For Love and Honor
(NBC; 9.23.83-12.27.83)
Inspired by the hit film An Officer and a Gentleman, this hour-long drama took place at the headquarters of the 88th Airborne Division, with Cliff Potts and Yaphet Kotto as drill instructors with entirely different approaches to their job. Kelly Preston starred as the base commander's nympho daughter.
48 Hours
(CBS; 1.19.88- )
The first primetime news hour in 17 years, this program followed correspondents as they pursued a single news story over a two-day period. The first three episodes centered on Miami and the drug trade, Denver's Stapleton Airport on a New Year's weekend, and the professional lives of the staff at a Dallas hospital.
The Four Seasons
Jack Weston starred as Danny Zimmer, a dentist (and hypochondriac), who moved his business from New York to L.A. Based on an Alan Alda film of the same name, this half-hour sitcom was produced by Alda, whose daughters Beatrice and Elizabeth reprised their roles from the movie.
Frank's Place
(CBS; 9.14.87-10.1.88)
This offbeat show starred Tim Reid as Frank Parrish, who inherited a small Creole restaurant in New Orleans. A New Englander and a history professor, Frank had a hard time adjusting to life in the Crescent City -- and the eccentric staff and clientele of the restaurant. Critics liked it, but the series ran only 22 half-hour episodes.
Freddy's Nightmares
(Syndicated; 1988-1990)
Hosted by Robert Englund of "Freddy Krueger" fame, this anthology series featured the stories of people who had nightmares in which they usually died bizarre or horrible deaths. All the episodes were set in the same fictional town, which had to rank near the top of any Ten Worst Towns to Live In list. Released in October 1988, the series ran for 44 half-hour episodes.
Freebie and the Bean
(CBS; 12.6.80-1.17.81)
Based on the 1974 film starring Alan Arkin and James Caan, this hour-long police drama had Tom Mason and Hector Elizondo as two plainclothes officers working for the Frisco DA.Though unorthodox in their methods, they got the job done. Opposite ABC's The Love Boat, though, they didn't get to solve too many crimes before cancellation.
Freebie and the Bean
(CBS; 12.6.80-1.17.81)
Based on the 1974 film starring Alan Arkin and James Caan, this hour-long police drama had Tom Mason and Hector Elizondo as two plainclothes officers working for the Frisco DA.Though unorthodox in their methods, they got the job done. Opposite ABC's The Love Boat, though, they didn't get to solve too many crimes before cancellation.
Friday Night Videos
(NBC; 1983- )
This hour-long music show debuted on 7.29.83 and featured rock music videos as well as a "Video Vote" in which viewers called 1-900 numbers to cast ballots for one of two current hits. Michael Jackson's Thriller video debuted on this show in December 1983. Guest hosts included Lisa Bonet, Tony Danza and Whitney Houston.
Friday the 13th
(Syndicated; 1987-90)
When the daughter of an antiques dealer inherited the family business, she tried to recover the cursed antiques her father sold (in keeping with the terms of a deal struck with the Devil). She was helped by her cousin and a retired magician. The series had no similarity to the horror movies of the same name. Starring Louise Robey, John D. Le May (replaced by Steven Monarque) and Chris Wiggins. (72 hour-long episodes)
(ABC; 4.11.80-10.22.82)
ABC's carbon copy of the hit NBC show Saturday Night Live, with its own large ensemble of young comedians, including  Bruce Mahler, Michael Richards, John Roarke and Melanie Chartoff. Notorious for its tasteless skits and a rigged on-screen fight between guest Andy Kaufman and one of the producers.
Full House
(ABC; 9.22.87-8.29.95)
This long-running half-hour sitcom (192 episodes) had three young men (Bob Saget, John Stamos, David Coulier) raising three girls (Candace Cameron, Jodie Sweetin and Mary Kate and Ashley Fuller Olsen alternating as the youngest, Michelle). The series was an instant hit, and also featured Lori Loughlin as the girlfriend (and, later, wife) of the Stamos character.