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Posted at 1:35 PM ET, 08/17/2010

In light of 'Melissa & Joey,' four more '90s TV stars who could make a sitcom comeback

By Jen Chaney

Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence are making a bid for renewed sitcom relevancy with the aptly named "Melissa & Joey," a sitcom that debuts tonight on ABC Family. The Post's TV critic Hank Stuever says it isn't half-bad.

"You could do worse -- say, 'Hot in Cleveland,'" he writes. He also adds in a couple of "Whoas!" for good measure, because you can't mention the name Joey Lawrence without following up with at least one whoa.

"Whoa!"

See what I mean?

Anyway, all this discussion about Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Blossom's brother got me thinking about other '90s sitcoms who deserve a chance at an ABC Family or TV Land show of their own. Here are four that immediately popped to mind.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

The Justin Bieber of '90s sitcoms, Thomas gave millions of tween girls the ideal initials (JTT) to pair with their own during the years "Home Improvement" was on the air. In recent years, he seems to have purposely dropped out of the limelight and left acting behind. (He reportedly was enrolled at Columbia University for at least some period of time in the not-too-distant past.) Maybe Thomas has no interest in a sitcom return, but just imagine how nuts all those now grown women would go if they saw the 28-year-old back on TV again. At the very least, the person who made this YouTube tribute video would watch. (Warning: The following video is NSFDAt90s -- Not Suitable for Decades After the '90s.)

Brandy Norwood

After her involvement in a devastating car accident, the musical artist also formerly known as "Moesha" laid low for a bit. But she's making music again, and starring in her reality show, "Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business." So maybe it's time for a return to the sitcom world. "Moesha 2.0," perhaps?

Michael Fishman

We pretty much know what happened to all of Roseanne's kids ... except that adorable little DJ. Fishman is another of those '90s child stars who took a step away from acting and, for a while, worked behind the scenes, according to his IMDB profile. But surely he wants to get back in front of the camera. I say cast DJ as a young father (Fishman, BTW, is now 28 and a father of two), toss in occasional cameos by Roseanne as Fishman's maddening mother-in-law and you've got yourself a gimmick just enticing enough to get some respectable basic cable ratings.

Ben Savage

"Boy Meets World"? Try "Man Meets World." Savage is still acting -- he has busied himself mostly with indie movies and the occasional pop-in on a series like "Chuck" -- so he'd undoubtedly be interested. Maybe somehow drag brother Fred Savage into the mix and have them star in a semi-meta look at two former child stars trying to rebuild careers in Hollywood. Like, "Entourage"-y, but without burning out after two or three good seasons?

Any of these sound remotely interesting? If not, suggest some other potential '90s sitcom star comebacks in the comments.

Updated: And while you're at it, vote in this poll:

By Jen Chaney  | August 17, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Pop Culture, TV  
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Comments

Let's get Bruce Campbell back on TV. He can reprise his 90's TV role, playing the mentor to his daughter (Lindsay Lohan) in "The Adventures of Brisco County III"

Posted by: karmadrome | August 17, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Anniston stars as an aunt/former neighbor/friend of Mom's who counsels a different 20-something starlet each week who has been dumped by a particularly hawt and popular guy. As a bonus she also offers tips on how to be sexy when you are past 40. In the first ep, she offers a shoulder to Danica McKellar, who plays a woman just dumped by Neil Patrick Harris (with a rotating cast you can borrow from other shows).

Posted by: reddragon1 | August 17, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

karma? I don't disagree with the sentiment, but the lovely and talented Bruce has been on "Burn Notice" on USA Network for the past several seasons...

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | August 17, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Richard Karn stars as a bearded late-night TV pitchman who yells all the time. Filming commercials reminiscent of the "Binford" commercials on Home Improvement, merriment ensues. Series is also noted for its product placement and periodic guest appearances by Tim Allen.

Posted by: reddragon1 | August 17, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Miley Cyrus stars in "The Lohan Chronicles," about a completely fictitious teen star from an imaginary disfunctional family who gradually devolves into a hot mess.

Posted by: reddragon1 | August 17, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

At the time of Joey Lawrence's fame, his star was usurped by Marky Mark Wahlberg (and the Funky Bunch)...which is a shame.

Joey is/was not only extremely attractive, and a much better actor than MMW, but was also a straight-A student and wise beyond his years, whereas MMW is still as dumb as rocks(tar).

Just sayin...whoa!

Posted by: Bebunk | August 17, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I met Joey Lawrence once when I was 16 in line for Customs in Paris. I don't remember being a huge Blossom fan, but I do remember being super excited about my first brush with a celebrity. I'd like to think that experience prepared me for meeting Luke Perry when I was, well closer to 30 than 20.

Posted by: StuckatWork | August 17, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I am reminded why I didn't watch much television during the 90s. Screech? Miss Fine? Even the occasional brilliance of Seinfeld and Roseanne aren't enough to make up for those two (and don't even get me STARTED on Balki. Painful).

Ben Savage?! I have rarely seen a less-talented or -charismatic person star in a TV show. I found him to be a lead weight on "Boy Meets World." Instead, give me Danielle Fishel in a mashup of her on "Boy," "The Dish," and her NutriSystem commercials. Tagline: "Topanga Pushes Away the Plate But Still Gets The Dish"!

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 17, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Hank Stuever has a point about "Hot in Cleveland." Such potential but unfortunate reality. Wendie Malick is working really hard, but her actual acting and comic timing can't carry bland Valerie Bertinelli (you're cute; I get it -- I got it 30 years ago, I mean get a new hairstyle, something!) and gangly Jane Leeves (you're British; I get it -- now ACT already! you were funny once, remember? And eat a sandwich.). Betty White? You barely see her and even her lines are forced.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 17, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Watched "Melissa & Joey" last night - I was bored - and it was horrible. I didn't know they still used laugh tracks. I couldn't get pass 10 minutes and started counting the laugh tracks - that's how horrible it was - after 15 minutes I decided I wanted my life back.

Posted by: rlj611 | August 18, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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