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America's Funniest Home Videos (also abbreviated as "AFV") is an ABC network reality series created by Vin Di Bona.
The show first aired as a special on November 26, 1989 and as a series since January 14, 1990.
It was first hosted by Bob Saget for the 1989 special and the first eight seasons of the series incarnation, then by John Fugelsang & Daisy Fuentes for its ninth and tenth seasons.
After two years of being shown as occasional specials, hosted by various actors and comedians such as D.L. Hughley and Richard Kind, ABC brought the series back on Friday nights in the summer of 2001 with new host Tom Bergeron, who has since become the series' longest-serving host, hosting for 15 seasons.
In March 2014, Bergeron announced that he would be leaving as host of the show, and Alfonso Ribeiro took over as host in 2015.
On October 29, 2018, ABC renewed the show for two more seasons, bringing to its 30th and 31st seasons.
The series centered on humorous homemade videos that are submitted by viewers.
Each week, the studio audience determines a winner by voting for the one video that they find the most-hilarious and at the end of the season, the weekly winners compete for the grand prize.
1989–1997: Bob Saget
"America's Funniest Home Videos" debuted on November 26, 1989 as an hour-long special, produced by Vin Di Bona & Steve Paskay, with actor/comedian Bob Saget (who starred in the ABC sitcom "Full House" at the time) as its host.
Saget was assisted in hosting the special by actress Kellie Martin (who starred on the ABC drama series, "Life Goes On" which would serve as the lead-in program to "AFHV" for the latter show's first four seasons).
Prior to the airing of the initial special, during the fall of 1989, Vin Di Bona Productions took out ads in national magazines (such as TV Guide) asking people to send in their home videos featuring funny or amazing moments.
John Ritter was Vin Di Bona's first choice as host of the program, but he was unavailable.
Originally intended as a one-off special, it became an unexpected hit, causing ABC to place an episode order for the show turning it into a regular weekly half-hour primetime series; it made its debut as a regular series on January 14, 1990, with Bob Saget hosting solo.
Ernie Anderson, the announcer for several ABC advertisements and shows of the era, was the program's original announcer. He was replaced by radio and television actor Gary Owens in 1995, who stayed in that role until Saget left, but Anderson briefly returned shortly before his death in February 1997.
Besides hosting the series, Saget also served as a member of its writing staff, alongside Todd Thicke and Bob Arnott.
The success of "AFHV" led to a spinoff called "America's Funniest People' hosted by Saget's "Full House" co-star Dave Coulier (and co-hosted by actress/producer Arleen Sorkin for the first two seasons, then model Tawny Kitaen for the final two), focusing on videos featuring people intentionally trying to be funny by doing celebrity impressions, committing pranks, and performing short amateur comedy routines, among other things.
During the show's first four seasons, "America's Funniest Home Videos" aired on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time; beginning with the fifth season, the show started the Sunday primetime lineup on ABC, airing at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, followed by "America's Funniest People" at 7:30 p.m. Eastern as part of an hour-long block of funny home videos.
Saget always ended each episode with the phrase "Keep those cameras safely rolling", and saying something to his wife who was (implied to be) watching the show.
Beginning about the middle of the first season, the show began featuring the "Assignment America" segment, which called for a series of videos to be sent in (collected or made) pertaining to a specific theme.
Another segment introduced during Saget's tenure as host called "Backwards Classics," shows videos being played in reverse set to classical music.
Since the show's debut as a regular series, the show routinely includes two to three times per episode, a montage of themed videos set to a particular song, called the "Music Montage"; classic songs (mostly from the 1950s through the 1970s, with only a few songs from the 1980s scattered in) were used during these montages in the original run of the series, though more recent pop, R&B and rock songs have been incorporated since Tom Bergeron became the show's host.
In season five, an animated sidekick was introduced named "Stretchy McGillicuddy" (voiced by Danny Mann), who was known for trying to tease Saget and doing other crazy things. In one episode (in season five), he was shown on the two large TV monitors on both sides of the set and Bob had to turn him off with a remote.
Stretchy's catchphrase was: "Don't get a little touchy Bob, I'm just a little stretchy!" The character was dropped from the show at the end of the seventh season.
In 1994, ABC canceled "America's Funniest People" after four seasons due to declining ratings and had to decide what to do with the Sunday night 7:30 p.m. Eastern slot that was now left vacant.
After trying out the short-lived sitcom "On Our Own" in the 7:30 p.m. slot after "AFHV" during the 1994–95 season, ABC then later chose to expand "America's Funniest Home Videos" to one hour with back-to-back airings, with that week's new episode being shown in the first half-hour, followed by a repeat from a previous season to fill the remaining time.
On February 1, 1996, another spinoff of AFHV debuted called "World's Funniest Videos" which was taped at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida; this series was also hosted by Coulier, along with actress Eva LaRue.
Paired with a weekly version of the popular "Before They Were Stars" specials on Thursday nights, "World's Funniest Videos" focused on funny and amazing home videos from around the world; however, due to low ratings, ABC put it on hiatus a few weeks after its debut, before cancelling the series outright after only one season and burning off the remaining episodes that summer.
For Saget's final season on "AFHV", two new episodes would be shown.
Numerous comedy skits were performed on the set during Saget's tenure as host.
The set consisted of a living room design (the main set, originally a three-wall design with a bay window, was remodeled for the 1992–93 season as a flatter frame outline with translucent walls; though the furniture featured on the original set remained). The beginning of each episode was tied in with a skit just before the transition was made from the introduction to Saget.
This usually consisted of several actors in a fake room (usually in the upper part of the audience section or in another soundstage) pretending to get excited watching America's Funniest Home Videos. This technique was scrapped at the end of the fifth season.
Saget soon grew tired of the repetitive format and was eager to pursue other projects as a comedian, actor, & director, but producer Di Bona held him to his contract, resulting in a frustrated Saget listlessly going through the motions, constantly getting out of character, and making pointed remarks on the air during his last two seasons.
Saget's contract expired in May of 1997, and he decided to leave the show afterward. However, according to Vin Di Bona, the producers felt a change (and change of hosts) was needed for "AFV" as a result of ABC going through a change of leadership (hence ABC's ownership transition from Capital Cities to Disney).
Saget's former Full House castmates (except for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) were present in the episode prior to the $100,000 season finale (which additionally featured 3-D skits as part of an ABC promotional gimmick week), which was his final episode.
Saget returned to "America's Funniest Home Videos" on two different occasions, first, to co-host a 20th anniversary special edition episode alongside Tom Bergeron, which aired on November 29, 2009 (which was three days shy of AFV's actual 20th anniversary date of its premiere on the air on November 26, 1989); and on May 17, 2015, he made a cameo appearance at the end of Tom Bergeron's final episode as host of AFV in Disneyland where he was driven by Bob Saget in a golf cart.
1998–1999: John Fugelsang & Daisy Fuentes
After Bob Saget's departure from the series, ABC sidelined the show from the network's 1997–98 fall schedule, choosing to bring it back as a mid-season replacement. The show began to be alternately called AFV at this point (though the show officially continued to be titled "America's Funniest Home Videos").
The series returned for season nine on January 5, 1998, with new hosts, an overhauled look and a new rendition of the theme song, which remained in use with the guest hosts on the specials in 2000 and all of Tom Bergeron's run as host, starting in 2001, until his 15th year and final season as AFV host in 2015.
Comedian John Fugelsang and model-turned-television personality Daisy Fuentes took over as co-hosts of the show. Jess Harnell also succeeded Owens as the show's announcer and still holds this position to this day.
During this period, the show introduced a segment called "Bad News, Good News," which shows a video of an accident; then one of the hosts makes a humorous statement about the upside of what happened.
This segment continued to appear occasionally until the fourth year of Tom Bergeron's stint as host. Another notable segment was the "AFV Hall of Fame", in which a clip is shown, and Fugelsang reveals the moment of impact (a screen that shows a still picture of that clip) that occurred in it.
This segment was scrapped at the end of season ten. Another featured segment was "Who Would You Like to See...", in which a random person is asked which celebrity they would like to see involved in a random humorous mishap, with a photo of a celebrity's face posterized over the face of the actual person in the video.
With the Sunday night 7:00 p.m. Eastern time slot now occupied by Disney films aired as part of "The Wonderful World of Disney" the show constantly changed timeslots, moving from Monday nights to Thursday nights to Saturday nights.
The ratings for the show suffered during this period, and both Fuentes and Fugelsang left the show after two seasons in 1999. Their last episode (which aired on May 6 of that year) was taped at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California.
The only honorable mention of John Fugelsang, Daisy Fuentes, and segments showcasing their run to date was the 2-part 300th episode AFV special in 2003 during the early years of the Bergeron run, which also showcased Saget's run of episodes in select segments, as well.
They have yet to make their first guest appearances on the road or in the studio on AFV, as they have never been invited back as guests since their final episodes as co-hosts back in 1999.
In May of 1999, ABC announced that it would discontinue America's Funniest Home Videos as a regular weekly series, but the show returned occasionally as a series of specials hosted by various ABC sitcom stars including "The Hughleys" star D.L. Hughley and "Spin City" co-star Richard Kind.
The show moved to a much smaller soundstage and the set featured various video screens and monitors (resembling iMac computers) placed on shelves.
A special sports version of the show called "AFV: The Sports Edition" that was hosted by ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, was rebroadcast every New Year's Day and aired occasionally before NBA playoff games with a post 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time tip-off until 2008.
A special entitled "America's Funniest Home Videos: Deluxe Uncensored" (which was released only on home video, and featured somewhat more risque content than that allowed on the television broadcasts) was hosted by Steve Carell and taped on the set used from the 1998–99 season.
These specials (except for the special sports edition) were not taped in front of a live studio audience, with pre-recorded applause and laugh tracks were used during commercial bumpers and just before, during, and after video packages being used instead.
2001–2015: Tom Bergeron
In October 2000, ABC announced its decision to return "America's Funniest Home Videos" as a regular weekly series, ordering 13 new episodes.
On July 20, 2001, the show returned in its third format, this time with host Tom Bergeron (who was also hosting "Hollywood Squares" at the time). By this point, the show was expanded to a single full hour-long episode, instead of two consecutive half-hour episodes.
The show was now being seen on Friday nights at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time; however, it went on hiatus for two months due in part to the September 11 attacks and also because of ABC airing specials and trying a new Friday night lineup. However, that lineup was short-lived, and the show returned to the schedule in December 2001.
In his earlier episodes, Bergeron used the set (with the bulky see-through iMac computers) from the AFV specials that aired in 2000, until the latter part of his first season, when a new set (with a studio audience) was introduced featuring a round video screen with several monitors.
In September of 2003, the show returned to its former Sunday 7:00 p.m. Eastern timeslot, still an hour long (though special episodes occasionally aired on Friday nights until 2007). Unlike Saget, who provided voice-overs to the clips, Bergeron humorously narrated them, though he did lend his voice to some clips from time to time.
Changes of the set was the round video wall is now a cuved video wall, the pillars became blue (sometimes other colors), the curved light boarders were added that were hanging through the set, and the center stage now has lights under it and the words "AFV" are put back.
The Bergeron version added new segments, such as "Tom's Home Movies", where his face is digitally superimposed over the face of a person in each of the videos with varying expressions shown to match the person's reaction to their mishaps in the videos (a recurring gag referenced by Bergeron in this segment is on his superimposed head being larger than normal size), various audience participation games using funny home videos including "Head, Gut, or Groin," where Tom picked one or two members of the studio audience to guess whether the person in the video would be hit in the aforementioned three areas of the body in order to win an America's Funniest Home Videos compilation DVD (since the 2012–13 season, a bobblehead of Bergeron was given as the prize) and the "slo-mo gizmo", where a video is played first at normal speed and then again at a slower speed and telestrated. Bergeron nearly always ended each episode with the phrase: "If you get it on tape/video/*INSERT WORD HERE*, you could get it in cash", which was later changed to "Upload to us. Get rich, get famous" by the 2008–09 season. That phrase would continue to be used for another 10 years, including into Alfonso Ribiero's first 3 seasons until the season 29 premiere on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
While only four of the Tom Bergeron-era segments ("Vs.", "The Dog/Cat Park", "Name That Sound", and "A Moment With...") continue to be shown on Alfonso Ribiero's AFV at present, the segments introduced (and still seen in reruns whenever and wherever available for airtime) during this period when Tom Bergeron hosted the show include:
- "Vs." (featuring compilations of two sets of related videos, in which the "winner" of the two is revealed at the end, followed by a fictional "preview" of the videos in which the winner is claimed to face in the next segment)
- "A Moment of EWWWWW!" (featuring a video that focuses on something gross such as mucus hanging from a person's nose after sneezing)
- "The Dog/Cat Park" (a compilation of animal videos featuring dogs or cats that is named accordingly to the animals featured)
- "AFV Family of the Week" (featuring funny videos of adults and children, the "family" featured are actually people of no familial relation)
- "Nincompoop Corner" (a compilation of videos of people getting into situations that humorously showcase a lack of good judgement)
- "AFV Dictionary" (featuring a humorous dictionary definition made to apply to the video being shown)
- "Name that Sound" (which features audio of an unusual sound, followed by a clip of the video which the sound came from that usually reveals a person or animal making the noise)
- "Pick the Real Video" (a multiple-choice game in which audience members are asked to choose which video is the one that will be shown)
- "What's Behind the Blue Blob", "Kid, Cat, or Canine" (both it and "What's Behind the Blue Blob" are games which audience members are asked to guess the person, animal or object featured in the video that is then revealed)
- "The Naughty File" (featuring a video incorporating inappropriate behavior such as a child urinating at a family gathering)
- "A Moment With..." (An out of the ordinary video is shown for a few seconds)
- "What's Up with the French?"
- "AFV Pop Quiz" (a multiple-choice game leading into and out of a commercial break in which viewers are asked to guess what occurs next in the video)
- "The AFV $10,000 Club" (an early segment in which a home video that already won $10,000 in a previous show was showcased)
- Mysterious Mysteries of Mystery (an early segment in which Tom narrates a video with mysterious things happening like balloons replacing faces, in news headline form)
- On This Day in AFV History (an early segment in which Tom narrates a very old video, with a date, which Tom says that date, for example, a video from October 10, 1987 features a kid petting a pig, which bites him in the crotch)
Starting with the 2007–08 season, the series began allowing viewers to upload their funny home videos online at ABC.com, but has since the 2012–13 season; launched their own website that same year in 2013 and has viewers upload their videos instead to AFV.com, in addition to sending their videos via standard mail.
Except for reruns of episodes from seasons 21 and 22 that referenced uploading to ABC.com, the re-edited season 11–20 episodes that used to originally reference ABC.com on the unaltered versions of the episodes now reference uploading to AFV.com.
During the 2011–12 season, the AFV iOS app was released on the App Store, allowing users of Apple mobile devices to record and upload videos for submission to the show; a version of the app was released for Android devices the following season.
In the final six seasons of Tom Bergeron's run as host, the show started its "Funny Since 1989" campaign in 2009 and had two anniversary seasons. Season 20, in 2009, had a special 20th anniversary episode that aired on November 29, 2009.
The special brought back Bob Saget to AFV for the first time in 12 years as a guest. Both Saget and Bergeron ended that episode with a pinata party skit and a nod to the Star Wars lightsaber fight scenes when the credits started rolling. The pinatas resembled the looks of the two hosts. Five years later, on March 7, 2014, Bergeron announced on his Twitter account that season 25 would be his last.
In February of 2015, "AFV" aired a 25th Anniversary Celebrity Celebration special. Bergeron's final new episode from his in-studio stage home of 15 years (which was really his second to final episode) aired on May 10, 2015 (and for the final time in rerun form on ABC on September 13, 2015), and was the final (and season 25's second) $100,000 show of his tenure and featured at different times of the episode a look back at classic and modern funny home videos that defined the show's then-25-year run.
Bergeron's "real" final new episode aired on May 17, 2015, the season finale, ending his run as host after fifteen seasons (the longest hosting tenure for the series to date).
The episode, taped on-location at Disneyland for that season's edition of the annual "Grand Prize Spectacular", AFV's 25th anniversary, and the Disneyland Resort's 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration that began on May 22, 2015 (which has appeared in various formats since 2005, in which one of the two (formerly three) $100,000 winners from the current season wins a Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, or in earlier seasons, an Adventures by Disney vacation package) featured an auto-tuned montage of clips and outtakes from Bergeron's run as host and closed with him being escorted after walking off the outdoor stage near Sleeping Beauty Castle following the grand prize presentation on a golf cart driven by original host Bob Saget in a special cameo appearance. ABC aired encores of this episode on two different occasions.
First, on July 19, 2015 to coincide with Disneyland's official 60th birthday on the weekend of July 17, 2015 (the actual 60th anniversary of Disneyland's grand-opening on July 17, 1955) and again on September 20, 2015 as the network's final episode airing, new or rerun, of AFV with Tom Bergeron and him as host signing off for the final time.
Tom Bergeron made his first guest appearance in the studio on the season 26 "Grand Prize Spectacular" finale of Alfonso Ribiero's AFV on May 22, 2016 and played the show's final on-air audience participation game "Who Breaks It?" and won an Alfonso Ribiero AFV pillow and socks.
2015–present: Alfonso Ribeiro
On May 19, 2015, two days after Bergeron's final episode aired, ABC announced that Alfonso Ribeiro (known for playing Carlton Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") would take over as host of AFV beginning with the season 26 premiere on October 11, 2015.
Bergeron formally introduced Ribeiro's new role as host during the latter's guest performance on the season 20 finale of "Dancing with the Stars" (Ribeiro appeared as a DWTS competitor and won the prior season).
Before becoming the current host of the show, Alfonso Ribeiro made his first (and final) guest appearance in the studio on a season 25 episode of AFV playing one of the show's audience participation games with then-host Tom Bergeron called "Who's Makin' That Racket?".
While some of the Tom Bergeron-era clip segments, the in-studio audience, and background parts of the Tom Bergeron-era set props remained intact and/or continued to air for Alfonso Ribiero's first and last (and final?) four seasons, the stage featured a floor layout and stairway connected to a rubics-like cube with flat-screen TVs and new segments (especially for Alfonso Ribiero's run) continued to be added and aired on the show.
The show also introduced the Squares era.
The segments introduced (and still yet to be seen in reruns whenever and wherever available for airtime) during this period when Alfonso Ribiero hosted the show include:
- "#TBT: But On A..." (a "Throwback Thursday" segment that started in the Alfonso Ribiero-era of AFV that reunites viewers, including longtime viewers and fans of AFV on any day of the week, including Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays, with theirs and the show's nostalgic, classic, and some new modern classic clips submitted over the decades past and present - provided all episodes of AFV with or without this segment and regardless of host - as shows and clips become reruns and classics in their own right when they reach syndication - are aired on any local station, cable, and broadcast network again and again on any day of the week and at present with new episodes of AFV and this segment airing on Sundays for now on ABC)
- "This One Time On AFV" (clips shown with a Mother Goose or fairy tale storytelling skit)
- "Alfonso's Flubs" (blooper clips of Alfonso Ribeiro in the studio trying to get his monologue lines right)
- "Alfonso's Rhyme Time" (Ribiero comes up with rhyming words in his clip narration that relate to the funny subject matter of the clip)
- "I Think I See The Problem" (a segment featuring clips of people looking for one way to solve a problem, but unintentionally discover another way household problems can be solved through funny fails)
- "#NotTrending" (clips of attempted trends and fads by ordinary people never thought of that could catch on later, but haven't or don't look like they could trend or catch on right now on social media - AFV is a start for them)
- "Maybe It's Not Your Thing" (clips of people trying to do things and finally fail at doing that not not be their thing)
- "Alfonso's Advice" (Alfonso giving advice to the viewer on how to avoid a fail as clips show people failing to follow the advice)
- "Video Symphony" (Clips featuring sound effects in AFV's version of a musical symphony)
- "What The Fluff" (Clips featuring people disappearing or sometimes attempting and failing to disappear "magically" behind towels by running; to the amazement and/or despair of kids and/or animals)
- "Bad Places To Sit" (Clips featuring people sitting in bad chairs and calling down or animals sitting in strange, bad locations)
Beginning with the 2018-19 season, Ribiero nearly ended each week's episode with the phrase: "Send your video to us (or 'me' referring to Ribeiro), get yourself on TV" after 3 (and including the final 7 years of the Tom Bergeron-era, 10) years of saying "Upload to us. Get rich, get famous".
The Assignment America and musical montage segments that started in the Bob Saget-era and the honorable mentions segments and Disney Grand Prize Vacation Sweepstakes Contests that started in the Tom Bergeron-era also continued.
In May 2017, ABC renewed AFV for a 28th season and in June of 2017 (and continuing that summer scheduling format even in 2018) started airing summer reruns of current season episodes of AFV on Saturday nights at 8/7 central (until college football starts up in the fall) and Sunday nights at 7/6 central.
For the beginning of the season on October 8, 2017 instead of leading off Sunday nights, it aired Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT and was led into at the start of the season by "The Toy Box".
During some parts of the holiday season starting on November 26, 2017 and remaining that way for almost the first two months of 2018 through January 21, 2018 (and final 'repeat/repeat' on February 4, 2018), "AFV" aired in a "repeat/new episode" scheduling format.
The show returned with new episodes in the 7/6 central timeslot (still an hour-long on Sunday nights) due to holiday movie presentations and specials airing on ABC on Sunday nights at 8/7 central during the holiday season on December 10, 2017 and then permanently starting on February 11, 2018.
ABC repeated the "repeat/new episode" scheduling format for "AFV" on January 6, 2019 with new episodes returning to the 7:00/6:00 central timeslot on March 3, 2019 when "American Idol" premieres with AFV likely to be pre-empted in some timezones when "American Idol airs the live (in all time-zones) finale episodes in May 2019.
On March 13, 2018, ABC renewed the show for a 29th season which premiered at its regular 7/6 central Sunday night timeslot (and was the lead-off starting on October 7, 2018 to "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors") on September 30, 2018.