After months of anticipating the return of one of America's most loved sitcoms of the 80s and 90s, "Full House," fans were treated to the release of 13 episodes of the series reboot titled "Fuller House" on Friday. Network viewing numbers dropped significantly that night, and some observers are speculating the plunge was specifically due to the Netflix release of the sitcom.
The release of "Fuller House" was one of the most anticipated Netflix projects of the year, with the trailer for the new series having amassed over 14 million views including 5.5 million in just its first day, and becoming the top watched trailer on Netflix's YouTube channel. The show features almost all of the members of the original cast, including stars Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, John Stamos, Candace Cameron and Jodie Sweetin. The lone holdouts are sisters Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who together alternated to play youngest Tanner family member Michele.
Reviews for the new series were mixed to poor, with most critics panning the show as a dated throwback that would only appeal to loyal fans of the first go round. To be fair, however, "Full House" was never a critic's favorite even at the height of its success.
In any case, it appears viewers with a nostalgic taste for the program watched en masse on Friday night to the detriment of network TV ratings the same evening. "Full House" originally aired on Friday nights as part of ABC's TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) lineup that featured other successful sitcoms such as "Boy Meets World," "Perfect Strangers," "Sabrina The Teenage Witch," "Clueless," and "Mr. Belvedere." With the new series being released on a Friday, it looks as if fans created their own TGIF reboot by binge watching episodes of "Fuller House" on Friday night instead of network TV.
Although Netflix ratings are unavailable, the 3 percent drop in overall network viewing numbers on the night is considered significant enough to attribute to the sitcom's release and the lowest figure in months. ABC in particular, had its worst viewing night of the season. The network airs a truncated TGIF lineup consisting of two comedies on Fridays, "Last Man Standing" and "Dr. Ken," and both of them suffered, along with the rest of the night's shows, "Shark Tank" and "20/20."
Full House fans and cast can consider it justice, as ABC famously canceled the show after its eighth season despite its good ratings and continued popularity, citing high production costs. We bet the struggling network, whose president Paul Lee just resigned due to low ratings for the broadcaster, wouldn't mind having the Tanner family back in its stable, but it looks as if the gang's new home on Netflix suits them just fine.