Patrick Duffy and I recently spoke at length about NBC’s Man from Atlantis (now being released via the Warner Bros. Archives collection) and both the classic and new versions of Dallas. We also talked a bit about Step by Step, the popular sitcom that ran for seven seasons, from 1991 until 1998.
Step by Step stars Duffy and Suzanne Somers as a pair of single parents who find love again. While they have a whirlwind courtship, it takes awhile for their respective children to get used to their new Brady Bunch-like family. The sitcom ran for six years on ABC before being cancelled and moving to CBS for one final season (along with Family Matters).
Step by Step ran for many years on ABC and then switched to CBS. Did it affect you guys at all on the set when you switched networks?
Patrick Duffy: No, it never impacted anything on the set. And the other thing is that [CBS President] Les Moonves had been a friend of mine since Man From Atlantis. It’s interesting. He had an option to pick up Step by Step, and also an option to produce a new series with me, and he said, “Either way, we’re gonna work together.” And it was just a situation where here’s a man you’ve known for 20 years, and it was just a matter of what logo was on at the head of our show.
The show didn’t really have a true series finale but, did you know when you were shooting the last episode that the series had been cancelled?
Duffy: Yes. One of my favorite outtake reels is the outtake reel from the final season. When we took our curtain call at the end, we had already been told that we were not coming back. So the curtain call was a real bittersweet, emotional thing and it’s on the outtake reel. Everybody’s final curtain call. So, we knew. And you know, it was seven years of great fun. We were hoping to get an eighth year but it just didn’t warrant it and it was over.
Has there ever been any talk about doing a Step by Step reunion show of some sort?
Duffy: Well, there hasn’t been, but I don’t discount that, because I think those types of things are easy to do. Bring back the cast, you know, where are the characters now. We were in 1998 when we were cancelled so it’s been 13 years already. You know, you could do a TV movie version of Step by Step by Step, or whatever you wanted to call it. And then, here are all the children grown up. Here’s Suzanne and myself in our sixties, and do a cute, you know, a no harm kind of cute, comedy TV movie. And it would be fun. I would love to do it, and I think 90% of the cast would be happy to do it, and it would be a no-brainer.
Do you keep in touch with anybody in the cast? Anyone in particular?
Duffy: Ah, very much so. Suzanne and I have been dear friends since the table read. Christine Lakin is a daughter to me, and I see her all the time. I did the movie You Again because of her and her soon-to-be husband, [director/producer] Andy Fickman. Staci Keanan, who played Dana on the show, is like a daughter to me. I actually wrote letters of recommendation to get her into law school.
I get Father’s Day cards from them, graduate …. well, now they’re all graduated, they’re all adults.
You know, I got every graduation notice, every Father’s Day card, Christmas cards back and forth. We see each other when we can but they’re younger, so it’s not like we’re gonna hang out together, but there’s a great emotional respect that we have for each other, and they’re like daughters to me.
What do you think? Did you enjoy watching Step by Step? Would you like to see full season releases on DVD?