CBS announced Wednesday that it’s ordered a 13-episode revival of “Murphy Brown” to air in 2018-19, 20-plus years after the show’s original run ended.
“Murphy Brown” will follow on the heels of NBC’s “Will & Grace” revival, which has put up decent ratings this season and will continue in 2018-19; and a “Roseanne” restart that premieres on ABC in March.
There have also been talks about revivals of “Mad About You,” “King of the Hill” and “The Office,” to name a few, and network and studio executives are undoubtedly scouring their archives for more shows that can be redone even as you read this.
We decided to do some of the work for them. Here are some other potential sitcom reboots/revivals/restarts for each of the Big 4 networks to consider, with pros and cons and the odds of them happening. All are shows that were on the air between 1988 and 1998, which seems to be the revival sweet spot.
They’re listed below in order of most to least likely.
‘Family Matters’ (ABC, 1989-97; CBS, 1997-98)
Pros: The cast is up for it. Fellow TGIF veteran “Fuller House” has had a successful run on Netflix.
Cons: Would another TGIF reboot stretch the nostalgia fabric too thin?
Chances of revival: 60%
‘Home Improvement’ (ABC, 1991-99)
Pros: It was a huge hit, finishing in the top 10 in all eight seasons. Family and “Tool Time” stories could be updated pretty easily; maybe Tim (Tim Allen) and Al (Richard Karn) have a show on a DIY-esque cable channel now?
Cons: ABC seemed to have burned some bridges with Allen with the cancellation of “Last Man Standing.”
Chances of revival: 50%
Chances of it happening on ABC: 3%
‘Who’s the Boss?’ (ABC, 1984-92)
Pros: A beloved cast (Tony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro and Katherine Helmond) and a premise (single mom hires a male housekeeper) that could easily be tweaked for the present day.
Cons: Danza and Light would likely be supporting characters in a new version. If it focuses on the now-adult kids, a new character would likely have to fill the key role analogous to Danza’s in the original.
Chances of revival: 35%
‘A Different World’ (NBC, 1987-93)
Pros: The show deftly mixed jokes and relevant storytelling, and with networks’ push for more inclusive storytelling, an update could have real potential.
Cons: Since it’s about college life, any original cast members would be in supporting roles as parents or faculty members. As a spinoff of “The Cosby Show,” it has some residual baggage (through no fault of its own) tied to Bill Cosby. Freeform’s “Grown-ish” covers similar territory, though it’s not set at a historically black college.
Chances of revival: 25%
‘Designing Women’ (CBS, 1986-93)
Pros: Three top-10 seasons in the early ’90s; a biting sense of humor that would feel right at home today.
Cons: Stars Dixie Carter and Meshach Taylor have passed away. They were two of the three actors (Annie Potts is the third) who were with the show for its entire run.
Chances of revival: 20%
‘The King of Queens’ (CBS, 1998-2007)
Actually, CBS has kind of already revived it by making Leah Remini a regular on “Kevin Can Wait.” Never mind.
‘That ’70s Show’ (FOX, 1998-2006)
Pros: The show launched its young cast (including Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, Topher Grace and Wilmer Valderrama) to stardom. Shows like “The Goldbergs” continue to prove there’s value in period nostalgia.
Cons: Reuniting the cast could prove difficult as several are involved in other projects (and Danny Masterson is being written off “The Ranch” following allegations of sexual assault). By necessity, it could not be set in the ’70s.
Chances of revival: 15%
‘Married … with Children’ (FOX, 1987-97)
Pros: FOX’s longest-running live-action comedy is now thought of less as crass, low-brow stuff and more as ahead-of-its-time anti-comedy.
Cons: Stars Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal are currently regulars on other shows. FOX’s comedy brand is far different now than it was then.
Chances of revival: 10%
‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (CBS, 1996-2005)
Pros: It ranked in the Nielsen top 20 for seven of its nine seasons; the kinds of stories it told are easily updatable.
Cons: Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts, key parts of the show as Raymond’s (Ray Romano) parents, died in 2006 and 2016. “Raymond” would not be the same without Frank and Marie.
Chances of revival: 5%
‘Friends’ (NBC, 1994-2004) and ‘Seinfeld’ (NBC, 1989-98)
Pros: Two of the defining shows of NBC’s Must-See TV era. Both were massive hits with lasting pop-culture legacies.
Cons: The “Friends” cast has never shown any inclination toward a full-scale reunion; “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David turned the reunion idea into a season-long joke on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” … in 2009.
Chances of revival: 1% each, just because you never say never