Family Ties: Did You Know? 


Family Ties cast

This section contains interesting facts about the show, the characters, the cast members, etc.  Please send any additional to
 

  • Family Ties finished 5th in the ratings for the 1984-1985 season with a 22.1 rating.
  • Family Ties finished 2nd (behind only The Cosby Show) in the ratings for the 1985-1986 season with a 30.0 rating. They finished 2nd again (behind The Cosby Show again) during the 1986-1987 season with a 32.7 rating. In 1987-1988, Family Ties ranked 17th with a 17.3 rating.
  • Michael J. Fox won 3 Emmy Awards from 1986-1988 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. To see a full list of other awards the cast and crew of Family Ties won, click here
  • In its fourth season, President Reagan deemed Family Ties his favorite television show.
  • Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox's real-life wife, appeared on the show as Alex's first serious girlfriend Ellen Reed.
  • Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis appeared in 2 early episodes as the Keaton's trial housekeeper.
  • The show's theme "Without Us" was sung by Mindy Sterling and Dennis Tufano (first ten episodes) and then by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams.
  • Matthew Broderick was creator Gary David Goldberg's first choice for the role of Alex. Reportedly, Broderick didn't want to commit to a long term project and leave New York. Michael J. Fox had auditioned for the role of Flip Phillips in 1982 (a part that actually went to Billy Warlock) on Happy Days, but then got Family Ties on his second audition for it.
  • Stars Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter share the same birthday: June 21st, 1947. Gross was born in Chicago and Baxter in L.A.
  • In 1986, there was a spinoff pilot made and aired on NBC called The Art of Being Nick. It starred Scott Valentine as Nick Moore, Kristine Sutherland as Marlene. Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Rachel, and John Daman as Louis. More information to come soon including the show's theme song.
  • In 1988, there was a 90 minute behind the scenes special that aired on PBS. Hosted by Henry Winkler, the special went behind the scenes and showed how the one-hour episode Last of the Red Hot Psychologists (with Courteney Cox) was made. Click here for a press release photo with the cast and Henry Winkler
  • Family Ties began as a product at CBS - originally planned as an one hour show. CBS passed on it. NBC wanted it as a half hour and live before a studio audience.
  • Meredith Baxter-Birney was the first person to be cast for the show.
  • Justine Bateman had never done a tv series before, she had only been acting for 4 months in 2 commercials. Tina Yothers was in the business since age 3. Courteney Cox was spotted by producers in the Bruce Springsteen 'Dancing in the Dark' video.
  • Michael J. Fox and Meredith Baxter-Birney car pooled together during the first season.
  • Tracy Pollan was chosen from one of 5 finalists for the part of Alex's girlfriend, Ellen Reed. She was originally signed for only 2 episodes. She was dating Kevin Bacon at the time while Michael J. Fox was dating Nancy McKeon. It was Tracy Pollan's choice to leave the show. The producers wanted her to sign for 2-3 years but she lived in New York and wanted to be closer to home. One year after she left the show, Gary David Goldberg asked her to return.
  • Gary David Goldberg's UBU Productions was named after his dog in college Ubu - "Sit UBU sit. Good Dog. Woof!" . He admitted in a 1984 interview that UBU's famous picture was taken in 1972, and that he had died long ago.
  • Brian Bonsall won the role of Andrew Keaton from among 500 other actors. It was his first tv audition, he had appeared in some commercials at age 4.
  • A pair of twin boys, Tyler James Merriman and Garrett Joseph Merriman, were hired alternately to play newborn Andrew. Born November 30, 1984, the twins were sought out by a casting director who heard of their imminent birth from a member of the Los Angeles club called Mothers of Twins. Each was paid $141 per show and by law spent only two hours a day on the lot.
  • The famous Alex & Ellen dance song heard in "The Real Things (Parts 1 and 2)" is "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters. The song was actually recorded in 1981, but shot up to #1 on both the Hot 100 and adult contemporary charts in late January 1987 and stayed there for 15 weeks.

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