-By: Brittany L. Reid
It began with a new television station’s struggle to find just the right type of entertainment to bait its audience hook, line, and sinker. Who would’ve thought that the wrong content would be what they were looking for….or perhaps we should say the most unorthodox content? The year was 1987 when FOX, a novice network practically out of the womb, premiered a show about a family of underdogs that would slowly begin winning the hearts of Americans. A shoe-salesman, his fashion-forward wife, his ditzy daughter, and his wannabe-player son would spend the next few years taking the television audience on a journey of the rarely acknowledged every day life of the unconventional family.
The context of this show, “Married…with Children,” would begin a tradition that seemed to be the key for future hit shows on FOX. The network would go on to syndicate programs with the pitch of the “underdogs struggling to achieve.” FOX would utilize real life scenarios in both factual and fictional settings, and play on the opinions and sympathies of America to debut the oddest elements of television programming, from attacking animals, to focusing on taboo subjects like drugs, sex, sexual orientation, and more. The network would become renowned for cultivating shows like “The Simpsons” (following a similar foundation of “Married…with Children,” but in an animated format), “Beverly Hills 90210,” “In Living Color,” “Malcom in the Middle”, “American Idol,” and more. From reality competitions, to pushing the patience of the FCC, the network became its own type of Underdog, one that would go on to even make fun of itself in the programs it featured throughout the years.
While it’s only been a quarter of a century since the debut of this network, there is no doubt that FOX has become an integral part of the American family, simply because everyone has someone in their family with that same attitude as FOX: the reckless, over-dramatic, leap before you look type of relative who takes chances and somehow, always seems to still come out on top. Now, at the brink of young adulthood, the network celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Sunday, April 22, 2012, with a look at its history. Such a nostalgic sendoff allowed the audience to see how it has grown with FOX over the years. It is only natural to wonder just what the next 25 years will have in store for the underdog that always seems to be…..as Charlie Sheen would put it, “WINNING!!!!!”