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ABC Promotes Itself…And America Was Watching!

Television just isn’t the same anymore.

There I said it.

The vast landscape of sitcoms and prime time dramas has given way to reality shows, competitions, and mediocre shows at best. When something amazing does manage to find its way to television, and is worth watching, we wait and hope that networks see in it what we do…and decide not to cancel it undeservingly.

One thing the Big Three networks did away with in the 1990s was their big fall promotional commercials, which ran the length of a traditional commercial block, and promoted all the networks had to offer that season – returning favorites, new shows, it didn’t matter, and it was all featured in the commercial. The promos always involved the stars of the shows singing and dancing. All the networks did it, but ABC seemed to really know how to do it the best.

While ABC had some of the best fall promos during the 1980s and 1990s, my personal favorite was their “America’s Watching ABC” promotional campaign from 1990-1991, which used the music from their 1989-1990 campaign, but with different lyrics. It featured the stars of all of the returning and new (some short-lived) series, singing once again for you, the viewers. ABC may not have been in first place at the time, but they certainly gave us a performance worthy of first place.

This is the most incredible two minutes and twenty-three seconds, a nice slice of the past that reminds me of a time when the actors seemed to actually enjoy what they did, and not because it was in their contract to do so. Ok, maybe they were told to be in the commercial, but I’m sure they could have opted out.

I mean come on, we have:

Those kids from The Wonder Years! Kyle McLachlan, back for a second season of Twin Peaks! BobSaget! Cousin Larry and Balki! Roseanne Barr (or Arnold, whatever she was at the time) and a bunch of little girls dressed like her! Tony, Angela, and Mona! COACH! Neil Patrick Harris, proving that he’s an adept singer!

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And…this show (who are these guys?)

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And who the heck is this?!

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URKEL?! Corky! The Seavers!!!

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Neil Patrick Harris delights us with this solo effort…

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It’s those Wonder Years kids again!

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Father Dowling and Sister Steve!

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Oh sorry, that was my head. It just exploded. Don’t mind me. (And I guess he sang, but I’m not sure).

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And we know the guys from Monday Night Football…didn’t sing. Seriously, I love how they talked their way through the lyrics. But that’s fine, this is so much fun, we don’t care!

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PREACH IT, Timothy Busfield!

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Yes you are family too, Doogie and Vinny!

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Oh hai again, Seaver family!

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Beetlejuice?! You’re here too?!

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All together now…

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We know you’ll like the view! Well, if it was MACGYVER (!) singing this part, yes I would, but this commercial is fun, so I don’t care!

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Sing it, Winslow Family!

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Who are you?!

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Sing it, Doogie and Vinny!

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I’m wiping away a tear of nostalgia right now. Charlie Gibson and Joan Lunden. Watch us now? Oh I did, I grew up with you guys!

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A- Feel the beat yeah! Oh I’m feelin’ it, Mac, the Seaver family, and…those guys! SING IT!

B- Move your feet yeah! Doogie shows us X-Rayed feet. The Monday Night Football guys…don’t have to sing. And…who is this guy?! YEAH!

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C- Sing it loud now! Yes, Alyssa Milano, you do that!

Join the crowd now! That’s right, join Roseanne and the little ones for some dancing! From the heartland, from Doogie, to Larry and Balki…America is watching Mr. C…as a priest!
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And these guys…who are they?!

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But you all know we watched THESE guys!

The commercial then goes into a segment of new shows like…

Baby Talk! COP ROCK?! Gabriel’s Fire! Going Places! Married People! America’s Funniest…Part II. All CANCELED that season…except for America’s Funniest Home Videos. Real people doing really stupid things for real, in attempt to win real money, is still with us.


Actually, Gabriel’s Fire was revamped into a different show, Pros and Cons, for its second season. But still, NOT the same show!

And then we go into the actors singing the song ONE MORE TIME!

A, Feel the beat YEAH! B, move your feet YEAH! C, sing it loud NOW! Join the crowd NOW! From the heartland, from sea to shining sea…America is watching ABC! We are treated to all of our actors hamming it up one last time, as the logo comes into view.

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And we’re mesmerized.

Number two network at the time, my bad ankle. This is a prime example of what the number one network should be capable of!

Watch it now!

Uploaded by apotheounSTK’s channel
Cheesy yes, but gloriously (and epicly) cheesy. Is epicly even a word? I have no clue! I don’t care.

America was watching, second to NBC. But they’ll always be number one with promo commercials.

Allison makes it a point to geek out about nostalgia (and everything else) in her internet home, Allison’s Written Words. She’d love you to visit her there and geek out with her.

She confesses to singing along with the actors.


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2 thoughts on “ABC Promotes Itself…And America Was Watching!

  1. Max Power says:

    I did see that CBS did a half-hour fall preview special this year. Hosted by Jane Lynch to promote her show, which I’m sure some executive described as an “in-your-face Touched by an Angel.”

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