Fox will mark its on-air milestone this weekend with Fox’s 25th Anniversary Special (Sunday at 7 p.m.), a celebrity-filled celebration hosted by Ryan Seacrest and featuring appearances by stars from many of the network’s most popular and influential shows.
Fox will also re-air the pilot of Married... With Children (Sunday at 6 p.m.), followed by a rebroadcast of the recently aired milestone 500th episode of The Simpsons (6:30 p.m.).
In preparation for Fox’s big quartercentury blowout, here’s a look back at the timeline and titles that made the home of Homer what it is today:
Married... With Children (198797) — clearly intended to serve as the anti- Cosby sitcom, this coarse and emphatically dumbed-down comedy made it clear that Fox was staking out new territory.
21 Jump Street (1987-90) — an ambitious cop drama that offered an early indication of Fox’s youth-serving strategy; launched the career of a youngster named Johnny Depp.
The Tracey Ullman Show (1987-90) — a better-than-average sketch-comedy offering that’s mostly remembered now as the show that spawned The Simpsons.
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (198890) — a boundary-breaking effort that created the template for all those sitcoms that break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience.
The Simpsons (1989-present) — redefined TV comedy; revived primetime animation; simply put, Fox’s most important contribution to television programming.
Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000) — combined youthful soapiness with serious-issue exploration, and by doing so, created the blueprint for two generations of teen/20s dramas.
In Living Color (1990-94) — edgy and racially inclusive sketch comedy that created a career springboard for Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez and pretty much everyone named Wayans.
Melrose Place (1992-99) — a struggling, sombre 90210 spinoff that became a pop-culture phenomenon when
Post-partum impression (1987-90)
OTHER NOTEWORTHY TITLES: America’s Most Wanted, Cops, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose
The (sometimes) terrible toddler years (1991-2000) Heather Locklear joined the cast and turned it into an over-the-top soapfest.
The X-files (1993-2002) — perhaps the first cult-favourite sci-fi show to develop a significant mainstream following; combined complex storylines and detailed mythology with modernday whodunit casework and just the right measure of Mulder/scully sexual tension.
King of the Hill (1997-2010) — demonstrated that The Simpsons’ success wasn’t just a fluke; set the foundation for Fox’s long-running Sunday-night Animation Domination block.
Ally Mcbeal (1997-2002) — weird, wacky, absurd, sexy and unapologetically silly; one of the ’90s most successful generators of next-day water-cooler discussion.
That ’70s Show (1998-2006) — Fox’s first hugely successful mainstream sitcom; launched the careers of a handful of previously unknown teen actors, including Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Wilmer Valderrama.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY TITLES: Ned and Stacey, Martin, Party of Five, Millennium, Malcolm in the Middle, Futurama, Boston Public, MADTV
Adolescent angst to all grown-up (2001-present)
Family Guy (1999-2002; 2005-present) — a unique cartoon phenomenon; cancelled after three ratings-challenged seasons, then revived after box-set DVD sales proved there was still an appetite for more.
24 (2001-10) — a ticking-clock thriller that almost ended before it began; 24’ s original prèmiere date (Oct. 30,2001) had to be pushed back when real-life events on 9/11 made the notion of a terrorism-driven drama a bit questionable. When it arrived, Jack Bauer turned out to be a very addictive character.
Temptation Island (2001-2003) — makes this list for notoriety, not quality; prime example of Fox’s ongoing effort in the early 2000s to continually lower the bar with tasteless realityTV titles, including the likes of Joe Millionaire, Married By America, Who Wants To Marry a Multi-millionaire?, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé and The Swan.
American Idol (2002-present) — the 900-lb. gorilla of the reality/ competition genre; has pretty much guaranteed Fox victory in the postChristmas ratings every season since its arrival; launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry and others.
Arrested Development (20032006) — never achieved the ratings it deserved, but still ranks as one of the best sitcoms of the 21st century.
House (2004-present) — by transforming a dithering Brit comedy player into a huge prime-time drama star, created one of the most compelling medical shows of the past few decades; headed for a sure-to-be-fitting sendoff next month.
Glee (2009-present) — producers who had tried before to create a prime-time musical ( Cop Rock, Viva Laughlin) were basically laughed out of prime time; this fresh, often-campy effort hit all the right notes and became a Tv/itunes phenomenon.
New Girl (2011-present) — Zooey Deschanel became 2011’s sitcom “It” girl; huge critical buzz and solid ratings earned this promising sitcom an early renewal for 2012-13.
The X Factor (2011-present) — nowhere near the earth-shaking success its producer, Idol alumnus Simon Cowell, predicted, but still gives Fox a formidable full-season presence in the reality/competition field.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY TITLES: Undeclared, The Bernie Mac Show, The Tick, Firefly, Wonderfalls, Bones, Prison Break, The O.C., So You Think You Can Dance, Prison Break, Fringe, Raising Hope, Touch