It would take some patience, a few willing original cast members, and a leap of faith by Netflix before “Fuller House” was ready to roll.
A spin-off of “Full House,” which starred Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier as three single men raising three girls, “Fuller House,” which hits Netflix Friday, follows the now-grown-up girls helping eldest sister D.J. (Candace Cameron-Bure) raise her three young boys.
“Full House” creator Jeff Franklin has said that his biggest regret was leaving the hit ABC comedy after its fifth season to run his new show, “Hanging with Mr. Cooper.” Over the next three seasons, “Full House” fell in popularity and ended with its eighth season in 1995.
Franklin envisioned the show’s return for years, which began to really take shape after Stamos, who played the cool Uncle Jesse, signed on to executive-produce and star on the spin-off.
Soon, Cameron-Bure, Jodie Sweetin (who played middle daughter Stephanie), and Andrea Barber (who played annoying neighbour Kimmy Gibbler) joined the new project, too.
“We had started back in 2008 trying to get this happening and it didn’t come together and there wasn’t anybody interested in any serious way, which was baffling to me because it’s so hard to launch a show these days that any leg up you can get is crucial,” Franklin told Business Insider.
There’s definitely truth to that statement. As the number of TV shows has dramatically increased, networks have been looking for projects that have built-in fans to help ensure some loyalty. Networks have relaunched shows based on “The Odd Couple,” “24,” “The X-Files,” “Boy Meets World,” and on and on.
Not only had “Full House” anchored ABC’s Friday night comedies and stayed on top for most of its seasons, but it’s still airing
40 times a week in repeats, according to Franklin.
“‘It is still pulling millions of viewers and beating most of the shows on the networks we were pitching to and we couldn’t get [a deal] done,” he said. “We took it to some of the major broadcast networks. We took it to the networks that were airing ‘Full House.’ We took it to the networks that are programmed to teens and young adults. We made quite a few stops. We took it to some other streaming services, so we made the rounds a bit.”
But Franklin was looking for a partner willing to go all in on the show.
“Some of them passed and some of them made offers that were maybe a script commitment — like go write a script for a pilot [episode] — and we were just looking for somebody that was more excited about the show,” he said.
Then Netflix stepped up and made a series commitment to the show. It took a few more months for Netflix and Warner Bros. Television, the production company, to finalise the contracts. But after that, things went pretty quickly.
“They were like, ‘OK, go make 13 episodes like now,’ so it was a bit of craziness,” Franklin said. “We were writing episodes, we didn’t have the kids cast, we didn’t have any of the other supporting actors cast, we were doing it in eight weeks. Normally, you have a pilot and you have your cast and you’ve gotten a bunch of the bugs out. In this case, we just hit the ground running.”
The cast would grow from there: Lori Loughlin, who played Jesse’s wife Rebecca; Scott Weinger, who played D.J.’s boyfriend Steve; among others.
But Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who shared the role of youngest daughter Michelle eventually caused a media frenzy after turning down multiple invitations to reprise the role. The twins have moved on to running several fashion labels and told producers that they no longer view themselves as actresses.
“At one point, the Olsen twins were the most popular actresses in America, which is astounding,” Franklin said. “They were three years old. I knew this was going to be a big deal, and I really, really was hoping we would have them in that first episode in some capacity. I was disappointed that it didn’t work out, but I’m hopeful that down the line maybe we can still make it happen somehow.”
“Fuller House” is available to stream on Netflix right now.
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