America's Funniest Home Videos and America's Funniest People

America's Funniest Home Videos (1990-1999, 2000-    )
America's Funniest People (1990-1994)
Type: Spin Off

   America's Funniest Home Videos started out as a special on ABC and was such a big hit that ABC made it a series. It was the sort of show networks love - a hit series with a real low budget. The premise of the show was simple: people would send in wacky homes movies, America's Funniest Home Videos picked out the funniest ones that wouldn't get ABC sued and then showed 'em. Then at the end of each episode, the studio audience would vote on which was the funniest and that video would get a cash prize. Then at the end of the season all the winning videos would compete for an even bigger grand prize.

   Whatever you can imagine someone filming with a camcorder got on the show. Every week you were almost guaranteed some dope getting hit in the crotch with a bat, a ball, a hammer, a railroad spike... you name it. Then you'd get crazy pets, brides having something go horribly wrong with their weddings while all America watched. The clips usually were actually quite funny. But along with each clip, host Bob Saget would do a narration that always seemed just annoying. You just wanted him to shut up! In its 1998-1999 season, Bob Saget was replaced with new hosts Daisy Fuentes and John Fugelsang. Suddenly Bob Saget's quips seemed like comic genius. The new hosts were nowhere near as good. Turns out Saget just had the impossible task of playing second fiddle to the funny videos. The show was cancelled at the end of that season only to then be revived in the 2000-2001 season now hosted by Tom Bergeron. He did a much better job of filling Bob Saget's shoes. With reality TV in vogue, how could ABC not bring back the "original" reality series?

   America's Funniest Home Videos started midway through the 1989-1990 season. When the 1990-1991 season started, ABC introduced a spin off of sorts called America's Funniest People hosted by Bob Saget's costar on the sitcom Full House Dave Coulier. He was aided first by co-host Arleen Sorkin and then Tawny Kitaen. While AFHV had people voluntarily sending in embarrassing footage of themselves, AFP took a camera and went out in search of those people without a video camera and those who needed some encouragement to debase themselves in front of America. They went out and had people do wacky things, tell jokes, strip away their dignity... for their cameras. Like AFHV, they had a contest with each weeks winner getting a cash prize. Turns out the going price for your average joe's self respect is $2,000 to $10,000. Who knew?

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