It’s tough to imagine anyone but Bob Saget as Danny Tanner in the classic sitcom Full House, but a familiar face was up for the part. The iconic sitcom ran for 8 seasons on ABC and was revived on Netflix in the sequel series Fuller House from 2016 to 2020. For generations of tv fans, Saget is impossible to separate from the role.
However, another iconic tv actor auditioned for Saget’s role back before he was a household name. David Duchovny, who ended up with roles in groundbreaking shows like The X-Files and Twin Peaks, actually auditioned for all three of the male leads on Full House.
“It was my first time out in L.A.,” Duchovny explained on Ellen back in 2021.”They brought me out for different shows. I ended up with the Full House stuff, and they just kept on trying to plug me into different characters. And clearly, I was wrong for every single one,” he quipped.
Though Bob Saget was the original choice for the role of Danny Tanner, another actor was actually cast in the part. The pilot episode of the classic show featured John Posey as the patriarch of the Tanner family. The unaired pilot has many similarities to the version that eventually aired, except for the actor switch.
A different actor originated the Danny Tanner role on ‘Full House’
Initially, Posey was not the producers’ first choice for Danny Tanner in Full House. Jeff Franklin, Thomas L. Miller, and Robert L. Boyett had all worked with Bob Saget on Bosom Buddies before they saw him in Critical Condition – a Richard Pryor comedy film – which led them to believe he would be perfectly suited for the role of Danny Tanner. Although there seemed to be an obstacle: Saget had already accepted CBS’s job offer as host of The Morning Program.
After attending his stand-up comedy show, Comedia, in Atlanta, a representative from ABC recognized Posey’s talent and cast him as Danny Tanner. “They pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to see you get in front of our comedy development people’,” Posey told Yahoo! TV in 2014. “I went ahead and went [to Los Angeles]. And then of course the pilot they gave me right away was Full House.”
He confessed that he was an amateur thespian then. Posey was especially unschooled in the comedy style necessary for a father figure’s part on a sitcom. “[I had been] doing Saturday Night Live-type, Second City comedy, very physical comedy,” Posey recalled. “And Full House was very, you know, sweet and different.”
Bob Saget’s sudden availability forced the recasting of Danny Tanner. It had nothing to do with any shortcomings on Posey’s part. The Morning Program was canceled after only nine months. This allowed Full House executives to quickly shoot a pilot featuring their first choice for the role of Danny.