This fall, the networks want to party like it's 1992. It was 20 years ago that stars like Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Kirstie Alley and John Stamos ruled the sitcom world. Now they're all back, and signed on to star in new comedy pilots this spring.
The trend started this season with Tim Allen's successful return to TV as the star of ABC's Last Man Standing. Allen brought a familiar, recognizable quality to the show, making it a relatively easy sell to viewers.
Now other '90s stars are eager to return to their TV-comedy roots. Barr (Roseanne's Nuts) and Alley (Dancing With the Stars) most recently starred in reality-TV shows; Goodman and Stamos are coming off dramas (Damages and ER, respectively).
In NBC's Downwardly Mobile, Barr stars as the manager of a mobile-home park, and Goodman, reuniting with his Roseanne wife, will play her handyman. Full House's Stamos plays a man who discovers he has a delinquent half brother in the Fox pilot My Little Brother. And Alley stars with fellow Cheers alum Rhea Perlman as part of a boisterous Italian family on ABC's The Manzanis.
"They are iconic TV stars," says one network executive. "There's no reason why, as long as they're still vibrant, they shouldn't have a second shot at success."