Discover the most popular TV show the year you were born

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1986: Family Ties

Family Ties was a sitcom on NBC that aired for seven seasons, from 1982 to 1989. The show was set in Columbus, Ohio and follows the Keaton family, headed by Steven and Elyse Keaton. The couple are both liberal former hippies, and are raising three very different children: ditzy, fashionable Mallory, tomboy Jennifer, and the ambitious, “Young Republican” Alex (played by Michael J. Fox). Most of the episodes revolved around Alex’s greedy schemes and their eventual (humorous) failure. Thanks to the show, Michael J. Fox became a star.

In 1986, Michael J. Fox took home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and then won again in 1987 and 1988. He also took home a Golden Globe in 1989. It was clear that Fox was the breakout star of the series, and viewers couldn’t help but love the mischievous, conservative Alex.

For the show’s first few seasons, ratings struggled, but the show powered through. By the third season, they moved up to the fifth spot on the Nielsen charts, and for the next two seasons, they ranked in the second spot. By the show’s last season, they had dropped to 35th. Even with the drop in ratings, the show has still created a legacy that will stay in the television hall of fame for years to come!