Tube Talk: Hollywood: It's all in the family

Patricia, Rosanna, David and his wife Courteney—almost every time you turn on the TV lately, an Arquette seems to show up.

Patricia, star of Medium, enjoying its third season on NBC, set the bar high for her family by winning the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. So far, her show has proved to be a solid performer for a struggling network. Big sister Rosanna is in her second season of What About Brian on ABC, and the Arquettes’ doubled their TV presence in January when brother David’s new sitcom, In Case Of Emergency, debuted on ABC the night after his wife Courteney Cox’s highly-touted drama, Dirt, premiered on FX.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, since acting families aren’t that unique anymore. There are the Baldwin brothers, the Carradines, the Gyllenhaals, Owen and Luke Wilson, pretty much the entire Cusack family, and even the Deschanel sisters. But it’s rare when so many members of the same family have different TV series airing during the same season.

(Just to be clear, we’re not counting the likes of Donny and Marie, the Olsen twins, or other family members working on the same series.)

Siblings Justine and Jason Bateman—most recently seen on TV in Men in Trees and Arrested Development, respectively—managed the feat more than once while Justine was playing Mallory on Family Ties from 1982 to 1989. Jason had some memorable appearances on Silver Spoons between 1982 and 1984, then got his own series, It’s Your Move, which ran from 1984 to 1985, before finding success co-starring in Valerie Harper’s sitcom Valerie (which aired from 1986 to 1991 under various titles: Valerie’s Family, The Hogans, and is also sometimes called The Hogan Family.)

Kirk and Candace Cameron also spent the late ’80s and early ’90s on separate sitcoms—Growing Pains for him and Full House for her. Brothers Fred and Ben Savage almost achieved the same feat, but Fred’s The Wonder Years left the air in the spring of 1993 while Ben’s Boy Meets World debuted that fall. Tia and Tamara Mowry’s series, Sister, Sister, led to a 1997 spinoff, Smart Guy, for their younger brother, Tahj; both shows ran until 1999.

Who knows if any combination of Arquette shows will run as long as the Batemans’ or Camerons’ sitcoms did, but with four series on the air right now, anything is possible.

Cute kids and talent tend to run in families, which may account for so many siblings getting their starts as child actors, but the Arquettes are unique because they’re all adults.

Whether all four of the Arquettes’ series will last out the season, or be renewed for next year, remains to be seen.

Programming note: What About Brian airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC; Dirt airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on FX; In Case of Emergency airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC; and Medium airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy Magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT, and TVGuide.

From the Jan. 17-23, 2007, issue

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