Valerie Jones played Judy, the youngest Winslow child in the pilot, but was replaced by Jaimee Foxworth. Her character had little screen time. When Foxworth requested a salary increase, producers wrote her off the series. Later episodes revised the show's history so Judy never existed.
The character of Steve Urkel was named after a producer's friend. He was only supposed to appear once, but the audience's response was so overwhelmingly positive that the producers decided to make Urkel a regular character. Urkel merchandise included a talking doll, trading cards, posters, books, lunch boxes, T-shirts, and a limited-edition cereal.
Steve Urkel crossed over to three other series: Full House (1987), Step by Step (1991), and Meego (1997). Also had a minor cameo in Boy Meets World in Season 8, Episode 17, when Urkel sends Cory Matthews a chain letter.
Jo Marie Payton decided to leave the show when it moved from ABC to CBS because her contract was finished. She agreed to appear during the first half of the ninth season, then was replaced by Judyann Elder.
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. The producers hoped for a 10th and final season on CBS, but the ratings for the 9th season were so bad that the network cancelled the show, and aired the series finale with no fanfare during the summer season. In a nod to plans to have Steve and Laura get married in a 10th season, they got engaged in the series finale.
By the time the show ended in 1998, the then 22-year-old Jaleel White had grown sick of the role of Urkel. In 1999, he said in an interview, "If you ever see me do that character again, take me out and put a bullet in my head and put me out of my misery." He addressed this quote in 2011: "It's one of those things that it's very unfortunate how quotes are taken out of context. I remember that interview very vividly. I loved playing those characters. But the fact is that I was maturing. To be honest, I was retarding my own growth as a man in order to maintain the authenticity to what I thought that character should be."
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. For the first 3 seasons of the original ABC broadcasts, and later airings on ABC Family, episodes use an extended version of the "As Days Go By" theme, accompanied by clips from selected episodes. Syndication edits of "Family Matters" use the abbreviated version of the theme used in seasons 4 through 6. ABC Family airings use an extended opening sequence.
Musical guests included New Edition, Dave Koz, Shanice Wilson, Tracie Spencer, Freddie Jackson, Missy Elliott, Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, Portrait, All 4 One, Immature, MC Lyte, Donna Summer, and Shai.
During the 1997-1998 TV season, the show was the second-longest running sitcom still on TV. Murphy Brown (1988), had been on the air one year longer, and was also in its final season. By the time the series was canceled in July 1998, it had been on the air a few months longer than Seinfeld (1989) and The Simpsons (1989).
'Jo Marie Payton' decided to leave the show when it moved from ABC to CBS because her contract was finished. She agreed to appear during the first half of the ninth season, then was replaced by 'Judyann Elder'.