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Family Matters: Watch the Last Episode, “Lost in Space”

Family MattersBeginning 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.

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanna Ross March 7, 2014 at 7:31 am

Actually a season 10 was partially written. I was on the studio team for S8,S9 and the proposed S10.

However, there was supposed to be a hiatus, rather than cancellation. The season finale of season 9 aired in July of 98, and production of new episodes was stated to begin in December 1998, with season 10 to premier in Fall 1999. Unfortunately, Michelle Thomas, who played Myra, died of cancer December 22 1998, before filming was to begin. Due to this, many of the cast were sad of her passing, and filming was then shifted to begin Feb 1999, with new episodes to air Jan 2000. However, Jaleel white declined to renew his contract, so it was cancelled.

However, if the show would of returned, CBS had actually planned to run the series with new episodes through to 2002, which means it would of ended at around 13 seasons. All cast members besides Jaleel White and Jo Marie Payton had renewed their contracts during filming of Season 9, and the contracts were to expire in the summer of 2002, which effectively would of ran the show with new episodes until then. The reason Jaleel white’s contract was not renewed like the others was because he had a more demanding personality with payment and demanded more money, so the writing staff was actually considering trying to temporarily renew his contract for 1 more season and simply write him out of the show during S10. However, the higher ups refused to proceed without White so when he refused to renew his contract, the show was cancelled.

A family matters movie was also considered, since no proper series finale was done. The Family Matters movie was not written, but was being proposed. I don’t know much about it but it was tentatively supposed to end the series and air in 2003.

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Deanna Ross March 7, 2014 at 7:36 am

I still have some scripts that were left behind when the show was cancelled. The script of 1 episode of season 10 and it was:
“Return from space”

the episode was a 1 hour special and was a continuation of the events from the past season finale. Due to legal reasons I will not disclose more.

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admin March 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Sorry but what you’re saying doesn’t make any sense.

I can’t speak to script ideas for a 10th season but the ratings were dismal for season nine — it wasn’t even in the top 50. It had fallen to #50 while still on ABC which was why they cancelled it. CBS made the decision by May 1998 not to renew it (months before the finale aired).

Even if CBS wanted to keep the show, there’s no way they would have considered relaunching a low-rated show after a year and a half off the air.

Jo Marie Payton told me that her contract had expired at the end of season eight and agreed to do season nine, with the option of leaving midway (which she did). She wasn’t committed beyond that and was done with the series.

And the writers were going to attempt to do the show without Jaleel White? The ratings were tanking WITH him on the show so there was no way they’d try and do it without him.

I’ve looked for Deanna Ross in the production credits and haven’t found it. Did you use another name on the show?

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Roy May 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I heard that the cast did not know they were cancelled and that if they were picked up it was for 1 more season revolving around the wedding of steve and luara.

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