Show Type: Sitcom

First Telecast: September 22, 1989

Last Telecast: July 17, 1998

Theme Music: "What A Wonderful World," sung by Louis Armstrong (1989 only). "As Days Go By" after 1989

Broadcast History:

September 1989 - April 1991, Friday 8:30-9:00 on ABC

August 1990 - September 1990, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 on ABC

April 1991 - May 1991, Friday 9:00-9:30 on ABC

May 1991 - August 1991, Friday 8:30-9:00 on ABC

August 1991 - May 1997, Friday 8:00-8:30 on ABC

June 1997 - August 1997, Saturday 8:00-8:30 on ABC

September 1997 - October 1997, Friday 8:00-8:30 on CBS

November 1997 - January 1998, Friday 9:00-9:30 on CBS

June 1998 - July 1998, Friday 9:00-9:30 on CBS


Carl Winslow..... Reginald VelJohnson

Harriette Winslow..... Jo Marie Payton-France

Eddie Winslow (age 15)..... Darius McCrary

Laura Winslow (age 13)..... Kellie Shanygne Williams

Judy Winslow (age 9) (1989-1993)..... Jaimee Foxworth

Grandma Winslow..... Rosetta LeNoire

Rachel..... Telma Hopkins

Steve Urkel (1990 - present)..... Jaleel White

Richie (1989)..... Joseph & Julius Wright

Richie (1990 - present)..... Bryton McClure

Rodney (1989-1991)..... Randy Josselyn

Lieutenant Murtagh (1990-1992)..... Barry Jenner

Waldo Faldo (1991 - present)..... Shawn Harrison

Maxine (1992 - present)..... Cherie Johnson

Weasel (1992-1994)..... Shavar Ross

Myra (1993 - present)..... Michelle Thomas


Family Matters Standard issue sitcom about the misadventures of a middle-class black family living in suburban Chicago. Blustery, heavyset Carl was a Chicago cop, Harriette, his sharp-tongued wife, and Eddie, Laura, and Judy, their rambunctious children. Further stoking the laugh meter were Carl's cantankerous mother and Harriette's recently widowed sister, Rachel, who moved in with her infant son, Richie. Something of an entrepreneur, Rachel operated a local lunch counter and teen hangout called "Rachel's Place. The real star of the show emerged halfway through the first season, however. Steve Urkel, the ultimate nerd, was a neighborhood kid with a serious crush on mortified Laura. With his oversized glasses, hiked-up trousers, and high-pitched voice, he was a walking cartoon and an instant sensation.

In later years, Family Matters began to focus almost exclusively on skinny Urkel and his foil, the ever-frustrated big guy Carl. Slapstick comedy and Urkel's ever more bizarre inventions made the show a living cartoon. Judy disappeared from the scene without explanation, and Eddie (who was off to college) and Rachel were seldom seen after 1993. Eddie's dim-bulb buddy Waldo, and Laura's friend Maxine were seen from time-to-time, but perhaps the most surprising addition was Myra, a bright, beautiful teenager in pursuit of Urkel, who still had eyes only for disdainful for Laura.

Urkel moved in with the Winslows in 1995, when his parents left the country without him. Yet another kid joined the household the following year, as the Winslows became foster parents to frisky "3J," whom Urkel had met as a Big Brother. By now the older "kids" were growing up, and Urkel, Laura, and Myra joined Eddie as students at a local community college. However, episodes were frequently based on Urkel's fantastic inventions, as when he transported the entire family to Paris on the Urk-Pad, or time-traveled with Carl back to an eighteenth-century pirate ship. He also learned the secret of cloning, and Urkels began to multiply. There was Myrtle Urkel, his outrageous cousin from Biloxi; he also dreamed up the debonair Stefan Urquelle, as a way to get to Laura.

In the last season, on CBS, Urkel helped get Carl promoted to Captain, while Eddie quit college to enter the police academy. Two new characters were Commissioner Geiss and Eddie's new girlfriend, Greta (a rival to Myrtle). In the final episode Urkel and Laura were engaged, when he learned he had won a contest to become the first student astronaut, and blasted off on a shuttle mission that went awry. After a series of disasters (some caused by himself), he did  a space walk to remove an errant satellite that had crashed into the hull, and saved the day. He was reunited on Earth with his fiancée Laura, and everybody hugged.

Family Matters was a spin-off from Perfect Strangers, on which Harriette appeared as the sarcastic elevator operator.