Jaimee Foxworth originally played the role of the youngest Winslow child, Judy. The combination of her character having little to do and Foxworth's request for a salary increase led producers to simply write her off the series. Later episodes revised the show's history so that Judy never existed and the only two Winslow children were Eddie and Laura.
The character of Steve Urkel was named after a friend of one of the producers, and was only supposed to appear once. However, the audience's response was so overwhelmingly positive that the producers decided to make Urkel a regular character. The character spawned a series of merchandise including a talking doll, trading cards, posters, books, lunch boxes and T-shirts. It even had its own limited edition cereal.
Although the interiors of the Winslow house were stage sets, the exterior of the house was taken from a real-life house located on Wrightwood Ave in Chicago, and (as of 2009) still exists as it appears during the series run.
The theme song for the first five episodes was "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. The series' more familiar theme, "As Days Go By", was first used in episode six. The original ABC broadcasts, as well as the later airings on ABC Family, for episodes from the first three seasons use an extended version of the "As Days Go By" theme accompanied by clips from selected episodes. Syndication edits of "Family Matters" feature the abbreviated version of the theme used in season 4 through 6. On the ABC Family airings, there is an extended opening sequence, which presumably has not been used since the series originally aired on ABC.
When ABC delayed making a decision to renew the show for a ninth season, CBS made a deal with Warner Bros. Television to renew the show for a ninth season, which would be its last. The show's producers hoped for a 10th and final season on CBS, but the ratings for the 1997-98 9th season were so bad that the network ended up canceling the show and airing the series finale with no fanfare during the summer season. In a nod to the stillborn plans to have Steve and Laura get married in a 10th season, the series finale did have them getting engaged. JoMarie Payton decided to leave the show when it moved networks from ABC to CBS because she didn't like how the show overemphasized the Steve Urkel character. Payton agreed to appear during the first half of the ninth season, after which she was replaced as Harriette Winslow by Judyann Elder.
Throughout the series' run, there were two actresses to play Harriette Winslow (JoMarie Payton and Judyann Elder); three actors to play Richie Crawford (twins Joseph and Julius Wright - although they were credited as one person, Joseph Julius Wright - and Bryton McClure); three actors to play Mother Winslow's husband, Fletcher Thomas (Arnold Johnson, Whitman Mayo, and Ed Cambridge); and two actresses to play Judy Winslow (Valerie Jones and Jaimee Foxxworth).
Jaimee Foxworth stated in an interview with Tyra Banks that she auditioned for the show seven times. That may partially explain why there's a different actress (Valerie Jones) playing the part of Judy Winslow in the pilot episode.
On the show, Harriette is two years older than her sister, Rachel. Their dad mentions in the episode, "Finding the Words" that Harriette was 3, and Rachel was 1 when he divorced their mother. In reality, JoMarie Payton (Harriette) is two years younger than Telma Hopkins (Rachel).
Darius McCrary, JoMarie Payton, Jaimee Foxworth, Telma Hopkins, and Bryton McClure have all released professional music recordings outside of their work on "Family Matters." Some of the aforementioned cast members have even displayed their musical talent in the show.
Although most sources cite Maxine's last name as Johnson, - which also happens to be the last name of the actress who portrayed Maxine (Cherie Johnson) - Maxine's last name was never revealed on the show.
Garcelle Beauvais played four different characters on the show. In the season 3 episode "Old and Alone," she played LuLu, Steve's wife in a dream; in the season 5 episode "Scenes From a Mall," she played a woman at the mall (named Garcelle) who Edfie tried to hit on; in the season 6 episode "To Be or Not to Be (Part 2)" she played an alternate version of Mother Winslow in a dream; and in the season 7 episode "A Ham is Born," she played an actress named Nicole Moses.
Musical guests of the series include New Edition, Dave Koz, Shanice Wilson, Tracie Spencer, Freddie Jackson, Missy Elliott, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, Portrait, All 4 One, Immature, MC Lyte, Donna Summer, and Shai.
Carl has four brothers: Frank, Daryl and Calvin are the names of three of them, while the name of his fourth brother was never mentioned. Frank was Carl's only brother to appear on the show when Ted Lange appeared in the episode "The Brother Who Came to Dinner."
J. Lamont Pope played four different characters on the show: a thug named Chain in season 3's "Born to be Mild"; a hospital orderly in season 4's "Number One with a Bullet"; an army recruit in season 4's "An Officer and a Waldo"; and the recurring character, Curtis Williams (Laura's boyfriend) throughout seasons 7 and 8.