Reba McEntire Headlines a TGIF Comedy Revival

Those with fond memories of ABC's TGIF lineup might want to check out the new/old kid on the block: the one and only Reba McEntire

Credit: ABC

Lily Tomlin Reba McEntire and star in Malibu Country, the latest edition to ABC’s revamped TGIF lineup

Reba McEntire’s New Sitcom Malibu Country Bolsters Friday Night Comedy

Back in the day, NBC may have had its “must-see TV” Thursdays, but ABC enjoyed nearly as much success with its Friday-night TGIF sitcom lineup.

Anchored by family-friendly comedies such as Full House and Family Matters, TGIF was a hit with young viewers until the networks declared that nobody watched TV on Friday nights and decided to air nothing worth watching. 

In the past few years, Fridays have slowly made a comeback as a popular night of television.

During this summer’s TV Critics Association press tour, ABC president Paul Lee noted that ever since taking over the network, he’s had a desire to “bring family comedy back to Friday night . . . [viewers] are hungry to see fresh programming on Friday night. We want to make that a destination, and so our family, multi-camera comedies are going to go on Friday night.” 

The comedies to which he’s referring both premiere this week: Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, returning for a second season; and Malibu Country, which boasts the sitcom return of country-music superstar Reba McEntire and comedy legend Lily Tomlin.

Reba on Malibu Country

McEntire plays Reba Gallagher, who dumps her cheating country-star husband and moves her kids to Malibu, where she plans to resurrect the singing career she set aside when she became a wife and mother.

Laugh-In vet Tomlin plays Reba’s cantankerous, bourbon-swilling mother, Lillie Mae.

“Lillie Mae’s part offered the opportunity to be audacious, outrageous, an older woman who just had a lot of spirit, said it like it was, has the opportunity, being displaced into this other culture, to experiment and to try anything and open herself to [new experiences], where Reba’s character is still kind of shut down and traditional and conservative,” says Tomlin. “Lillie Mae is going to be anything but that. I’m even hoping she’ll be a bad influence on the kids.” 

Kevin Abbott, exec producer of both Last Man Standing and Malibu Country, thinks that pairing these shows on Fridays makes a lot of sense.

“I think it’s a smart move that ABC is doing,” he says. “I think that there is an audience that hasn’t been served in a while, and I think this gives us our best opportunity to get exposure to that audience.”

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.