‘Full House’ Creator Jeff Franklin Talks About The Netflix Reunion That Almost Didn’t Happen

Bob Saget John Stamos Lori Loughlin Candace Cameron Jeff Franklin
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By now, you and every TGIF-loving 30-something are well aware that Full House is coming back as a new Netflix original series. The updated adventures of the Tanner clan will be called Fuller House, and it will focus on Candace Cameron Bure’s beloved character, D.J. Tanner-Fuller, (get it?!?!) as a pregnant widower and mother of two living in San Francisco, and she’ll be joined by her sister Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber). Sure, the idea seems a little dark, but it sometimes takes tragedy to bring large, dorky families back together.

While it initially seemed like this was an out-of-nowhere attempt to cash in on a sudden burst of Full House nostalgia, the show’s creator Jeff Franklin (above, far right) assured us that this has been in the works for quite some time. In fact, as he reminded us in a recent conversation about one of his other classic works (foreshadowing!), Full House has been a pop culture steamroller for almost 30 years, so there’s nothing out-of-nowhere about this. However, despite the show’s incredible success during its eight-season run and subsequent dominance in syndication, Fuller House almost never happened.

As Franklin explains, Fuller House could have happened several times in recent years, but it was Netflix that finally sealed the deal. Will the online streaming giant benefit from this new adventure? Time will tell, but Franklin is pretty confident about it.

How did the conversations start to do Fuller House?

It’s been amazing what’s happened with that show since 1987. The show has just kept going and going and has never been off the air in 29 years. And, in fact, it’s still airing in primetime four episodes a night, 20 times a night in primetime. The ratings are so high that they often beat shows on the regular networks. That’s why they keep it on the air. It’s drawing unbelievable numbers, and every few years, there’s a whole new set of kids who discover the show, and it keeps going and going and going, and it’s been unbelievable. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen, and I always say if I had known back then that this show was still going to be on the air 29 years later, I might have fixed more of those jokes. But I didn’t know that.

Anyway, it’s been an incredible journey to see this show beloved and iconic over the years. So, I always thought it would be fun to get everybody back together, whether it was in a feature film — which I tried to get going — or some kind of a reunion movie of some kind or a series. I had this idea for a long time of flipping the original premise and instead of having three guys raising three little girls, have our girls, now grown up and living together, raising three little boys. That was my idea a long time ago.

In 2007, John Stamos and I got together for lunch, and we were kicking stuff around, and we decided to go out with that idea, and we actually sold it a couple times. The studio was unable to close a deal or make a deal that they were happy with, and it just kind of fell apart. Last year, I decided I would take one more shot in putting this together and got John involved and got the other original producers, Robert Boyett, involved and again we sold it a couple times, and once again, the studio was not happy with the deal portion of it, and it looked like it was not going to happen again. Then, Netflix heard that we were pitching the show to a few places, and they asked to hear the pitch, and they ended up buying it. Here we are, 29 years later, making a new version of Full House called Fuller House.

Was it easy to get original cast members involved?

Most of the cast were open to the idea. Once we had gotten it set up, everybody was very open to coming back and playing and seeing everybody again for a little while, and the show was really focused around the characters of D.J., Stephanie, Kimmy Gibbler, and the new kids. So, from time to time, we will see the other members of the original cast come back, revisit and be involved in the storyline. But they won’t be involved in the show on a weekly basis. Actually, there is no more weekly basis, because the show is just going to be available on Netflix where you can watch one of them or watch all of them.

Once Full House ended, did everyone stay in touch?

They were a very, very, very tight, close-knit family while we were doing the show. The love that came through the TV set, that was real. Nobody was pretending. This group of actors really fell in love with each other. And all of them, myself included, we’re all still in touch. I’ve taken vacations with John Stamos, I’ve taken vacations with Candace Cameron. We are all really, really good friends. We have reunions all the time, but we do it privately. So, this is the first time, finally, that we’re all getting back together and stepping back into character after all these years. And hopefully we’ll be able to make the audience happy.

This is something that fans have been asking for almost since the show left the air, the original show, and that was 20 years ago. So, I think that all the cast, they’ve been asked, “When are you guys going to get back together?” for about 20 years every time they’re interviewed. They’ll be happy that at least that’s not a question they’ll be asked anymore. It’s crazy, the response has not been surprising to me, I know better than anyone the level of excitement out there. But I think Netflix is going to be very pleasantly surprised. I don’t think they even understand how smart they are. I’m going to go buy some stock.

Are you working with the same set of writers?

No, we have a brand new writing staff. There’s only one writer from the original show that’s back other than me, and that’s a guy named Boyd Hale.

Also, people are so attached to that theme song.

[Laughs] I love hearing that. Because I’m one of the writers on that. Yeah, we’re going to keep the original theme song, but we’re going to re-do it and update it.