The Hogan Family is an situation
comedy that aired from March 1, 1986 to July 20, 1991.
Early in the series' life, the show was known as Valerie, to
reflect the show's star, Valerie Harper. She played the matriarch of the
Hogan family, Valerie. Other stars were Josh Taylor as her husband,
Michael, an airline pilot (who, in the early seasons, was seldom around);
Jason Bateman as her eldest, girl-crazy son, David; and Danny Ponce and
Jeremy Licht as her fraternal twin sons, Willie and Mark (Mark was the
brainy one, Willie the irresponsible one).
Episodes were typical of most family sitcom fare of the era. Despite
this, the show was popular with fans.
Then, a huge change came in 1987. During the summer taping hiatus,
Harper had a falling out with the show's producers and left the series. As
a result, her character was written off the show as having been killed in
a car accident.
When the 1987-1988 season premiere aired, the show was retitled "Valerie's
Family." Taking Valerie's place in the household was Sandy Duncan
as Michael's divorced sister, Sandy (she took a job as a guidance
counselor at the high school where the boys attended). The show later
dropped Valerie's name completely, being retitled "The Hogan
Family" in June 1988.
The other big change came in 1990, when Michael and Sandy's father,
Lloyd (John Hillerman) moved in. The series, which had aired on NBC, moved
to CBS for its final season.
The show's theme song, "Through the Years", was sung by
Roberta Flack. The song was composed by Charles Fox (from Happy
The show was produced by Miller-Boyett Productions in association with
During its five-year run, "The Hogan Family" was known
to poke fun at sitcom clichés, such as defying the "happy ending in
30 minutes" in an episode where Willie admits he caused a hit-and-run
accident and tries to pin the blame on David (an angry Valerie grounds
Willie, even though he came clean, and said that he also had to face his
father when he got home).
There were several serious episodes, however, including:
- Shortly after Valerie's death, the house catches fire (an electrical
short in a lamp stored in the attic), rekindling the family's grief
- When David jeopardized a long-standing friendship with his friend,
Rich (Tom Hodges) by refusing to let him drive home from a party while
- In the series finale, when David learns Rich had contracted AIDS.