The Ultimate TV Universe Included ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ ‘The King of Queens,’ and 3 Other Classic Sitcoms

Many people all over the world have a favorite TV show, a series that they turn to in order to unwind and relax. No matter whether the series is a comedy, a drama, or a horror anthology, everyone has their own way to connect with entertainment. Undoubtedly, sitcoms account for a large chunk of television audiences.

Sitcoms provide, safe, comfortable entertainment for fans, characters who are often funny and relatable, and not too far out of reach of the ordinary person. At one point in television history, five of the most popular sitcoms of all time intersected, creating a precedent that several other networks would attempt to replicate — with mixed results. 

A scene from 'Everybody Loves Raymond' featuring Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, and Peter Boyle
Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Peter Boyle, and Patricia Heaton film a scene for Everybody Loves Raymond | Robert Voets/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

NBC created several classic TV shows that share the same universe

NBC launched three of the biggest shows of all time in the late ’80s and early ’90s — The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, and The Nurses. Although all three shows featured vastly different concepts and actors, they were all aired by the same network and, in fact, all aired on the same night of the week. 

Eventually, showrunners for all three programs decided to run a major crossover event, which would feature the characters in The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, and The Nurses crossing paths in a small scene.

The scene demonstrated to audiences that all the shows inhabited the same fictional universe. Not only was the theme night successful, but audiences raved over the originality of the concept — a concept that several other networks would go on to recreate. Unfortunately, not every attempt was so successful as the original. 

CBS attempted to recreate NBC’s crossover event

RELATED: 12 of the Best ’80s Sitcoms You Can Stream During Quarantine

The ’90s were a great time for sitcoms, with several shows that ran on television that are now considered to be major cultural landmarks. One of these shows was The Nanny, starring comedian and actress Fran Drescher.

As the working-class nanny for a wealthy family, Drescher’s character was able to bring warmth and realism into the often staid upper-class household. Another ’90s sitcom that rose to great acclaim was Everybody Loves Raymond, starring Ray Romano, Peter Boyle, and a host of other talented stars.

Both shows accrued thousands of fans — so it was only a matter of time before the network decided to try to integrate both audiences. Eventually, following in the footsteps of NBC and ABC networks, CBS decided to run a crossover event, featuring the characters from Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, King of Queens, and Cosby.

While Everybody Loves Raymond and The Nanny had previously been shown to exist within the same universe, according to IMDb, the other shows had no prior connections when CBS launched their crossover event. When the crossovers, which took place on a few different episodes, finally launched, many fans were skeptical, however. 

What did fans think of the CBS crossover shows?

RELATED: These ’90s Sitcoms Were Actually Better Than ‘Friends’

While the crossovers promoted by NBC might have drawn in some extra viewers when they originally aired, many critics and fans were not so kind to the concept. According to FlavorWire, some critics even slammed the crossover episodes as being the “least inventive of these big, multi-show crossovers.”

Eventually, however, CBS copped to the way that they went about the crossovers, and even began promoting those episodes as “Shameless Crossover Mondays.” This didn’t make the shows any more popular with the critics, but it definitely let fans know what they were in for — and many tuned in regardless, just for the chance to see many of their favorite television characters interact with each other.

Ultimately, crossover events are still very much in play in the world of television, with franchises like Dick Wolf’s Chicago taking full advantage of the idea.