Here’s Why Ed O’Neill’s TV Characters Have Been Reading The Same Newspaper For 20 Years

Yesterday, we saw the below viral image of actor Ed O’Neill reading the exact same newspaper (look closely) during his “Married with Children” sitcom days and then again on his current show “Modern Family.”

“Married with Children” ran from 1987-1997 while “Modern Family” debuted on ABC in 2009—yet O’Neill’s characters are reading the same newspaper with the same news—about 20 years apart.

Check out the photographic proof, and then read the explanation below.

Ed O'Neill reading the paper

According to a thread on reddit in response to the image, one user posted the below answer as to why the TV newspaper has remained the same:

Just to be clear why the same paper:

When you make a television show, everything on it needs to be “cleared”, as in, legal to show on television without getting sued. So everything you use, whether it be artwork, products or yes, newspapers, needs to contain photographs and text that are legally safe to use on television.

At some point in time, a company that specializes in manufacturing and renting props created a prop newspaper, using a photo that had been cleared. Since it was easy enough to just keep reprinting that newspaper and using it, that’s exactly what Hollywood did. For 50+ years.

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