Top 10 ABC Sitcoms of the 1970s

Categories: Film and TV

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Weird but awesome.
While NBC was floundering in its attempts at comedy in the '70s, ABC was dominating. By the end of the decade, they had rolled out a marketing campaign with the theme "Still the One" just to remind everyone who was king. Of course, that all came to a fairly swift and abrupt end once the '80s rolled around and ABC has never really recovered in the world of sitcoms. But, prior to that, they ruled the roost.

Among their shows of that era are some of the most beloved TV programs of all time and they spanned the entire decade. Yes, some on the list were cheesy and the network did tend to play it safe for the most part, but there is no denying their record of hit shows.

Note that to qualify for the list, shows had to have spent the bulk of their lifespan in the decade of the '70s, which disqualifies wildly popular shows like Three's Company and Taxi.


10. The Partridge Family (1970-1974)

Premise: The family that rocks together stays together.

While perhaps not the first family of television comedy at ABC (that title is reserved for another show on this list), the Partridges captured enough of the hearts and minds of households to hold down a successful five-season run on the network. Centered around a family singing group -- and the moderately creepy manager -- the show soared thanks to the dreamy talents of David Cassidy and a very young Susan Dey.


9. Love American Style (1969-1974)

Premise: Multiple plots, one show.

LAS was one of the first examples of a show with multiple plots involving numerous guest stars each episode. Later, shows like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island (both ABC shows as well) would take the format to a whole new level. Many of the segments were considered racy for the time, though they would be barely PG by today's standards.


8. The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)

Premise: America's first blended family.

"Here's the story..." Words that would signal the birth of the family-based sitcom. Part after-school special, YA television and part adult comedy, The Brady Bunch became a massive hit and pop cultural phenomenon once it reached syndication. The plot of a couple marrying and trying to combine three boys and three girls (and a maid and her butcher boyfriend) was ripe for all sorts of lessons and comedic hijinks, including one very famous football-meets-nose moment.


7. What's Happening!! (1976-1979)

Premise: Inner-city LA teens work and get insulted by Dee, the sarcastic sister, and Shirley, the chubby waitress.

The best parts about What's Happening!! (besides those two exclamation points) were contained in the sarcastic jabs provided by the show's female characters. Dee, the young, whip-smart sister of Rog, was particularly acerbic, dropping all kinds of put downs on her brother and his goofy friends. Shirley may have been the prototypical sassy waitress, but Dee was something different and funny as hell.


6. Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979)

Premise: Former troubled youth returns to his high school to teach a remedial class.

When this show first aired, it was as famous for its catch phrases as it was for John Travolta's good looks. From "up your nose with a rubber hose" to "Hello, how ah ya? I'm Ah-nald Ho-ah-shack," the "sweathogs" of James Buchanan High in Brooklyn new how to turn a phrase. But, it was the sparkling good looks of Vinnie Barbarino that landed the show on the cover of every teen magazine in America...well, his face anyway. Some of the best moments where when students would barge through the window of Kotter and his wife's apartment from the fire escape or the interactions with Mr. Woodman (vice principal) who hated Kotter from his days at the school.


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