Bring Family Ties Home!

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 Family Ties - The First Season

 Family Ties - The Second Season

 Family Ties - The Third Season

 Family Ties - The Fourth Season

 Family Ties: The Four Season Pack


Show Type: Sitcom

First Telecast: September 22, 1982

Last Telecast: September 17, 1989

Theme Music: "Without Us," by Jeff Barry and Tom Scott; sung by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams

Broadcast History:

September 1982 - March 1983, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 on NBC

March 1983 - August 1983, Monday 8:30-9:00 on NBC

August 1983 - December 1983, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 on NBC

January 1984 - August 1987, Thursday 8:30-9:00 on NBC

August 1987 - September 1987, Sunday 8:00-9:00 on NBC

September 1987 - September 1989, Sunday 8:00-8:30 on NBC


Elyse Keaton..... Meredith Baxter-Birney

Steve Keaton..... Michael Gross

Alex P. Keaton..... Michael J. Fox

Mallory Keaton..... Justine Bateman

Jennifer Keaton..... Tina Yothers

Andrew Keaton (1986-1989)..... Brian Bonsall

Irwin "Skippy" Handelman..... Marc Price

Ellen Reed (1985-1986)..... Tracy Pollan

Nick Moore (1985-1989)..... Scott Valentine

Lauren Miller (1987-1989)..... Courteney Cox


The mellow 1960's clashed with the conservative 1980's in this generation-gap comedy, which in some ways reflected America's changing values in the Reagan era. President Reagan, in fact, called Family Ties his favorite show. It was set in middle America - Columbus, Ohio - where one-time flower children Elyse and Steve Keaton still espoused the liberal values of the idealistic 60's, although they were now parents and professionals (she was an architect, he the manager of public TV station WKS-TV). Their children's ideals were something else. Seventeen-year-old Alex was Mr. Conservative, habitually dressed in suit and tie and with a picture of William F. Buckley, Jr. over his bed. Mallory, 15, was into designer jeans, boys, and junk food, cute little Jennifer, 9, just wanted to be a kid. They were a loving family, though the kids never could understand those Bob Dylan records their parents kept playing.

During the 1984-1985 season, Elyse gave birth to baby Andrew, and by the following fall super-student Alex had entered Leland College, espousing, what else, the virtues of the Reagan administration's supply-side economics. There he became seriously involved with another student, perky Ellen Reed, while back at home, sister Mallory was dating a poorly educated aspiring sculptor named Nick Moore. Mallory, an academic under-achiever, narrowly graduated from high school in 1986, entered Grant Junior College, and set her sights on a career in fashion design, more or less. In 1987, another love interest entered Alex's life in the person of psychology student Lauren Miller. Alex's chief sidekick, though, was little brother Andrew (already four years old!), who idolized him. Every week, they watched Wall Street Week on TV together. Skippy was Alex's rather dense friend.

Besides its continuing parody of Reagan-era values, Family Ties tackled some sensitive subject in unusual episodes. Perhaps the most famous episode was "A, My Name is Alex," performed theatre-style on a nearly bare stage, in which Alex worked through his grief and disorientation following the sudden death of a young friend in an auto accident. During the 1988-1989 season, the Keatons confronted racism when a black family moved into the neighborhood; and faced their own greatest crisis when Steve suffered a heart attack and had to undergo bypass surgery. In the last original episode, the nuclear family was finally, and inevitably, dissolved as Alex graduated, accepted a plum job with a large Wall Street brokerage firm, and moved away. There would be no Family Ties reunions, said creator/producer Gary David Goldberg. The 1980's and all that it stood for were over.

NBC aired reruns of Family Ties on weekday mornings from December 1985 to January 1987.