Beginning as a spin-off of ABC’s Perfect Strangers, Family Matters revolves around the Winslow family and one very nerdy neighbor.
Carl Winslow (Reginald VelJohnson) is a Chicago policeman and his wife, Harriette (Jo Marie Payton, later Judyann Elder), is the chief of security for the Chicago Chronicle. Their children are Eddie (Darius McCrary), Laura (Kellie Shanygne Williams), and little Judy (Jaimee Foxworth). Also living with them are Harriet’s widowed sister (Telma Hopkins), her young son Richie (Bryton McClure), and Carl’s feisty mother, Estelle Winslow (Rosetta LeNoire).
The sitcom initially focused on the parents and kids but the success of nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) caused the series to shift focus pretty quickly. Other recurring characters were played by Orlando Brown, Michelle Thomas, Cherie Johnson, and Shawn Harrison.
After eight seasons on ABC, Family Matters moved to CBS. They tried to compete against ABC with their own Friday night comedy line-up but didn’t have much success. Family Matters’ ratings dropped and it was cancelled after nine seasons.
The ending of Family Matters is a two-parter called “Lost in Space.” Both installments aired on July 17, 1998. The show didn’t have a real series finale but it seems that Steve and Laura are well on their way to the alter.
Wonder why some of the castmembers left during the run of the show? Visit our Family Matters page.