Married… With Children aired for 10 years, but did not get the big send off many of today’s long-running shows get when they meet their ends. In fact, it was unceremoniously canceled and one of its stars, Christina Applegate did not know she was not going to make a 12th season until she heard it on the radio.
While on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week, Applegate said no one from Fox told her the show was cancelled personally. She got the news secondhand.
“I actually learned that we were canceled from the radio, but not firsthand. Someone was listening to Kevin & Bean…Kevin & Bean knew before me,” she revealed. “They said something and then someone I knew had heard it on Kevin & Bean and then called me to tell me that the show was canceled.”
“So you got the bad news from Kevin & Bean?” a stunned Kimmel asked. “Is it too late to put a finale together?”
“It is, I think so,” Applegate said.
Married… With Children helped establish Fox as a serious player among the major networks, but as ratings began to slip and costs began to rise, the show was cancelled in 1997. As Variety reported at the time, Fox was paying $1.5 million per episode in licensing fees. While Columbia TriStar Television took it to UPN and WB, there was no way they could pay that much.
While Applegate is not interested in doing a full Married… With Children reboot, revival or spinoff, other members of the Bundy family have. In August 2018, Dave Faustino, who played Bud Bundy, told TMZ that “everybody wants to do it,” but cited a “legal issue” that has to be worked out. Katey Sagal, who played matriarch Peggy Bundy, told Us Weekly she would “consider it,” but said the schedules for the stars never seem to work out.
Ed O’Neill, who has been busy with Modern Family, told HuffPost in 2016 he thought the series was done for good.
Married… With Children ran 11 seasons from 1987 to 1997, and attracted plenty of controversy in its day for being far raunchier than any other sitcom. It has also been called misogynistic, even by Sagal herself. However, she told Us Weekly recently she does not believe the show should be censored.
“Our whole thing on that show was,” Sagal said of its misogynistic basis. “I don’t believe in censorship. I believe that each individual is responsible for [themselves] — you can change the channel — if your children are watching something like that. But I don’t necessarily think that that … we would censor art in anyway.”
Applegate can now be seen in Netflix’s Dead to Me, which was recently renewed for a second season. The first season, co-starring Linda Cardellini, is now available to stream.