‘AFV’ Passes 700 All-Time Episodes, in Second Place Ahead of ‘Gunsmoke’

by Megan Molseed

ABC’s hit funniest video television show, AFV has hit a mind-blowing milestone…taking the popular video segment comedy show past records held by some iconic, and long-running, television series such as the hit western television series, Gunsmoke.

The milestone AFV (America’s Funniest Home Videos) premiered on October 3 as the hit ABC video clip show entered its thirty-second season on the air.

This Sunday evening episode marked the show reaching a record number of episodes. Seven hundred to be exact.

This, of course, beats Gunsmoke who’s 1955 to 1975 run finished with 635 episodes.

Joining Some Elite Ranks

This amazing feat also lands the long-running series among the ranks of very few other television shows.

AFV falls just short of a record set by FOX’s The Simpsons which has premiered a total of 707 episodes during its own thirty-two-year run.

AFV’s thirty-second season premiered on ABC on Sunday, October 3, and audiences were excited.

‘AFV’ Is TikTok Famous!

In fact, the hilarious video clip series went from regularly receiving about 3,500 video clip submissions per week to about 5,000.

Much of this, AFV producers note, is due to a boost the classic video clip show has received on the popular social media video site, TikTok.

And, this season, the popular video-clip series had a new format. One that has been in the works for at least a year.

The popular television series went through quite a few changes during its thirty-first season last year.

This was as showrunners made adjustments to the show’s classic “in-studio” audience format. In an effort to adjust to the COVID 19 pandemic.

The biggest change AFV fans saw in most of last season’s episodes was the disappearance of a live studio audience. A format the show had used since its premiere in 1986.

For a show that is based on pratfalls caught on tape, wildly funny responses, and of course, AFV host Alfonso Ribeiro’s hilarious antics. All while the host moves about the audience, missing this live aspect was definitely a big change.

Finding the Sweet Spot

And, it took showrunners some time to find the sweet spot bringing in the communication between host and audience.

“We did one show without an audience and we said, ‘OK we really need to make a big pivot,’” says AFV executive producer Vin Di Bona. “We missed the laughter that is so affirming in our show.”

The AFV showrunner also notes that producers knew the energy of the audience was important to the show.

“Normally I don’t need to worry about my energy because the energy of the room fills me up,” said AFV host Alfonso Ribiero. “This became, ‘What does that energy need to feel like when no one’s sitting there?’”

However, the showrunners soon found the perfect formula for the popular show.

The answer, they realized was in creating a ninety-six-person virtual studio audience. As well as using Zoom-style interviews where host Alfonso Ribiero can discuss winning submissions with the finalist families.

“We are very surprised by how wonderfully the finalists react and are much more comfortable sitting at home in their own living room,” says AFV producer Michele Nasraway. “It can be much more amusing and the reactions are more real.”