CBS Block Party
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CBS Block Party was a programming block that aired on the CBS television network during the 1997-1998 television season. The block was similar to, and was intended as direct competition to, ABC's TGIF lineup and aired on Friday nights from 8pm-10pm ET. The block was a Cadmean victory in that although the block was canceled after one year, the resulting audience fracture caused what turned out to be irreparable harm to the previously dominant TGIF, eventually clearing the way for CBS to dominate the Friday night lineup beginning in the next decade.
When ABC (a network that was in the midst of an overhaul as The Walt Disney Company took over the network) canceled the long-running shows Family Matters and Step by Step, CBS picked them up and made them the cornerstones of the new "Block Party." Two new family comedies were added. The first was a new production from Miller-Boyett Productions (the production company behind Family Matters and Step By Step among other TGIF series), Meego. Meego, in addition to being produced by TGIF alumni, also starred a TGIF alumnus: Bronson Pinchot, who previously starred as Balki Bartokomous in Perfect Strangers and as Jean-Luc Rieupeyroux in the sixth season of Step by Step (Pinchot even used a similar accent to the one he used for the Balki character); Meego also featured well-known contemporary child stars Michelle Trachtenberg and Jonathan Lipnicki. The second new series was The Gregory Hines Show, an eponymous sitcom featuring entertainer Gregory Hines.
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None of the shows in the lineup lasted beyond that season. Meego lasted a mere six weeks, and The Gregory Hines Show was gone after fourteen. Though the two ABC series were picked up for full seasons, they suffered badly from the network jump, with both series hitting all-time lows in the Nielsen ratings. When the two series were canceled, neither was afforded a series finale.
The CBS Block Party was CBS's second (and last to date) attempt to compete with TGIF; in 1992, the network attempted a similar block, albeit targeting an older demographic than either TGIF or the Block Party, that featured The Golden Palace (the continuation of the long-running NBC sitcom The Golden Girls), Designing Women, Major Dad, and Bob. Like the Block Party, this block also failed after one season, and by the end of 1993, all four series had been canceled.
- Lowry, Brian (2000-04-14). "‘TGIF’? Well, ABC's Not So Sure Anymore". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-08-31.