Though ‘Married with Children’ didn’t win the hearts of every critic, it did enjoy a long run on prime time television. It even spawned a spinoff that ran for years (and charmed an even wider audience).
But the ‘Married with Children’ actors that wound up worming their way into viewers’ hearts weren’t the intended cast when the show was first pitched. In fact, the lead role of Peggy Bundy nearly didn’t go to Katey Sagal at all.
‘Married With Children’ Actress Katey Sagal Almost Missed Out
Katey Sagal went down in sitcom history for her role as Peggy Bundy on ‘Married with Children.’ But she also won over fans by clapping back at trolls that criticized the show. But the mouthy and overly dramatic Peggy almost didn’t happen.
That’s because another actress was slated to appear instead of Katey. Fortunately, plans changed — and the pilot started off with Katey and her co-star Ed O’Neill in the drivers’ seats of the Bundy family.
‘Married With Children’ Wanted Roseanne Barr
Back when ‘Married with Children’ first aired, a whole batch of actors was on the rise. It was 1987, and sitcoms like ‘Cheers’ (in its heyday) and ‘Full House’ drew tons of viewers. And one star that was growing faster than most was Roseanne Barr.
She wound up with her own show, aptly titled ‘Roseanne,’ of course. But before that, sources suggest, the team behind ‘Married with Children’ angled to get Barr to sign on to their upcoming project.
Michael G. Moyle and Ron Leavitt wrote the part of Peggy with Roseanne in mind. Plus, the part of Ted Bundy was meant to go to Sam Kinison. Both Barr and Kinison were stand-up comics, which illustrates how different the show would have been had the two signed onto the project.
Does Roseanne Regret Turning Down ‘Married With Children’?
It turned out well for all sides, though; Roseanne nabbed her own show on a bigger network the year after ‘Married’ debuted. Her sitcom ranked higher than Ted and Peggy, notes Vulture, but there were other reasons why a ‘Married with Children’ featuring Roseanne just wouldn’t have worked.
Critics say that Roseanne would’ve added a harsher tone to the show, especially given the fact that it was already full of “a lot of anger and nastiness.”
True, the show did have quite a few negatives. But it propelled Katey Sagal and Ed O’Neill into the spotlight in the early ’90s and really helped shape both their careers. In fact, Ed wound up nabbing a record as the longest-running sitcom star ever.