Having been renewed for another season, America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV), the American version of the TBS variety programme Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this autumn. For a quarter-century, the programme has maintained its exceptional popularity in the competitive field of prime time terrestrial broadcasting in the U.S.
The original Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan was a hit in Japan, running on TBS from January 1986 to March 1992. In 1989, ABC, one of the three major US terrestrial networks then, launched AFV based on this TBS format.
In 2006, AFV became the longest-running entertainment programme in the then over 60-year history of ABC. With the renewal of the programme and the format license agreement between TBS and ABC for another season, AFV will continue to extend this already impressive record. It is rare for a programme to air for more than 10 years in the U.S. due to the fierce competition between TV networks. Only a handful of entertainment programmes have made it past the 20-year mark, and 25 years on the air is truly an exceptional milestone. Tom Bergeron, who has won one Emmy and was nominated for the seventh time this year, has served as the host of AFV for the past 13 years and is only the second host so far. It has been announced that Season 25 will be Bergeron’s last, after which he will pass the baton to the programme’s third host.
In addition to four Emmy Awards, AFV producer Vin Di Bona has won a George Foster Peabody Award, one of the most coveted honors in the US broadcasting industry. In 2007, Di Bona earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, AFV became a permanent part of the entertainment collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
In 2012, AFV celebrated its 500th episode in prime time. In the history of U.S. television, only three other prime time programmes have reached the 500 episode milestone: Gunsmoke, Lassie, and The Simpsons.
Recognised by an extremely high percentage of Americans, AFV has received well over 1 million videos from fans since 1989, and the programme has nearly 5 million Facebook “Likes” and counting. Exported to nearly 100 countries so far, the original TBS format started the idea of requesting the audience to submit their own home videos for nationwide viewing. The format is considered to be a forerunner to YouTube and other video sharing platforms.
In 2013, the Wit (World Information Tracking) selected Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan for The Wit’s Top 50 Series, a list of 50 television series since 1963 that had contributed to the history of television and had a global impact. The Wit created the list to celebrate the 50th anniversary of MIPTV, the world’s largest TV market, which is held every year in in Cannes, France.
In partnership with TBS’s exclusive format and variety programme agent, Bellon Entertainment, TBS introduced AFV to global audiences in 1988, and the programme stands as the most successful Japanese format to date. The shows are produced using only American staff and cast, with Japanese original clips having aired only occasionally.