Bio Asks the Stars: 'What Was Your Favorite TV Show Growing Up?'

Did you ever wonder which shows your favorite TV show actors watched when they were kids? You might be surprised by their answers.
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We just love fall — it’s the season of new schools, new shoes, and new shows! As we eagerly await the debuts of the 26 new series premiering this fall (the official premiere week kicks off Sept. 22nd), we thought we’d reminisce about the TV treasures of our youth, since it’s back-to-school and all.

While mingling with the stars at the annual TCA (Television Critics Association) Summer Press Tour parties in Los Angeles in July, Bio decided to ask some of our favorite TV stars what their favorite TV shows were growing up.

From the classics to the kooky, find out which programs helped shape the childhoods of these actors (and find out which celeb grew up without a TV).

Biography: What Was Your Favorite TV Show Growing Up and Why?

DIANE KRUGER (The Bridge):

Diane Kruger Photo

The Nanny and Married…with Children. I grew up in Germany so the shows were very delayed by the time they would come to Germany. But I’m obsessed with Fran Drescher. No, I really am. The voice. I just loved it.”

KATE WALSH (Bad Judge):

Kate Walsh Photo

Laverne and Shirley. I LOVED it. I mean, as a little kid, it was awesome, I couldn’t wait to watch it every week. I loved their physical humor. I have so many favorite TV shows but that was a big one. I also loved The Brady Bunch and The Munsters.”


Anthony Anderson Photo

Good Times! My mother is from the south side of Chicago, so every time watching that, it just reminded me of where my grandmother was from. And I loved Thelma, of course … she was my favorite character.”


Anne Heche Photo

“I’m a funny person to ask because we didn’t have a TV. I was not raised on television, that’s probably why I do television. But I can tell you the first movie I ever went to was ‘Star Wars.’ And we made hamburgers beforehand, and we were poor, so we popped our own popcorn at home, and put it into our jackets, and then I told Harrison Ford that story when I met him to audition for Six Days, Seven Nights, and he was like, ‘You don’t tell somebody that!’ … and then he just cackled, he thought it was hilarious. It was probably the reason I got the job.”

DEBRA MESSING (The Mysteries of Laura):

Debra Messing Photo

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“Oh, well, I Love Lucy, was my first … she made me laugh, she taught me what I thought was funny. And then, it was The Carol Burnett Show … you know, redheads [laughs]. And I also loved Laverne and Shirley.”

ANDY SAMBERG (Brooklyn Nine-Nine):

Andy Samburg Photo

The Simpsons probably was my most favorite. Obviously, I’m a fan of comedy. Although the one I’m most excited to sit down and watch now is Game of Thrones. Not a comedy.”

JENNIE GARTH (Mystery Girls90210):

Jennie Garth Photo

“I always loved The Dukes of Hazzard, I loved their little mysteries every week and the cool car, of course. I also loved The Brady Bunch — Cindy and Marsha were my favorites — and I Dream of Jeannie, too.”

TORI SPELLING (Mystery Girls, 90210):

Tori Spelling Photo

“There were so many, but I loved Diff’rent Strokes. With Diff’rent Strokes my dad [TV mega producer Aaron Spelling] and I sat together in front of the TV and watched it. That’s a really special show to me, just because I remember, like my dad worked so much, and getting that moment with him — we watched it together every week — that made it an important show to me growing up.”


Kelsey Grammer Photo

“Easy. The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was just him, he was just so amiable all the time, I just adored him.”

LIZZY CAPLAN (Masters of Sex):

Lizzy Caplan Photo

(Photo: Sourcefed)

Saved By the Bell was a big one. I used to watch it while putting on my shin guards before soccer games. And I wasn’t allowed to watch as much TV as I wanted, which is something I guess I always hold a grudge against my parents for, and we didn’t have cable, so it was very limited … So Saved By the Bell was a big one, because it just felt like watching something on a Saturday was like a mini-vacation.”

MINDY KALING (The Mindy Project):

Mindy Kaling Photo

“I know it’s a little unusual, but I would have to say Fawlty Towers. It would play on PBS, so my parents would let me watch it with them because they loved John Cleese so much.”