The Family Matters cast in Season 3
‘Family Matters’ cast | Craig Sjodin/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Family Matters is an American sitcom that debuted in 1989 on ABC. The show, a spinoff of the comedy series Perfect Strangers, centers on a middle-class family in Chicago.

Family Matters was originally meant as a vehicle for actor Jo Marie Payton. She played Harriette Winslow, a wisecracking elevator operator in the building where Larry Appleton and Balki Bartokomous worked in Perfect Strangers. Producers liked her so much they built a show around the character and the rest of the Winslow family, including her husband Carl and their kids Eddie and Laura.

But something unexpected happened halfway into the first season: Jaleel White burst in as Steve Urkel, the Winslows’ nerdy neighbor. With his high-water pants, suspenders, oversized glasses, and signature saying, “Did I do that?” he became the TV show’s breakout star. Ironically, White was supposed to appear in only one episode, but he made such an impression that he became the main character.


  • Main cast: Jaleel White, Jo Marie Payton, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Reginald VelJohnson, Darius McCrary
  • Creators: William Bickley, Michael Warren
  • Genres: Comedy, sitcom
  • Original release: 1989-1998
  • Seasons: 9
  • Plot: A middle-class American family navigates comical misunderstandings and misadventures often caused by their annoying young neighbor.
  • Streaming: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video
  • Theme song: “As Days Go By”
  • Fun fact: The show’s theme song sounds like “Everywhere You Look” from Full House because the same composer, Jesse Frederick, wrote both of them.
  • If you like Family Matters, you might also like: The Cosby Show, Full House, The Jeffersons, Step by Step
  • Cultural lexicon: “Did I do that?”

Featured Articles:

‘Family Matters’ Star Jo Marie Payton Also Played a Mom on Another Hit 90s Sitcom


‘Family Matters’: Jaleel’ Urkel’ White’s Net Worth and What He’s Up To Recently


‘Family Matters’: Steve Urkel’s Popularity Strained Jaleel White’s Relationship With His Castmates


This Mysterious ‘Family Matters’ Firing Was Like ‘Losing a Family Member’


Visit the Family Matters website.

Read more about Family Matters, the show’s history, and behind-the-scenes information. Plus, see where the cast is today:

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