My Wife and Kids is finally available to stream once again. The beloved Damon Wayans sitcom can be found on Hulu, which added the series in July. Wayans and veteran television producer Don Reo created the show, which ran for five seasons on ABC from 2001 to 2005. The show was produced by Touchstone Television, the Disney-owned studio known as ABC Signature today.
Wayans stars as Michael Kyle, the patriarch of a dysfunctional middle-class family. Tisha Campbell (Dr. Ken) stars as Michael's wife Janet, while George O. Gore II stars as their eldest son Michael Junior. The couple's middle child, Claire, was played by Jazz Raycole in Season 1 and Jennifer Freeman for the last four seasons. Parker McKenna Posey starred as the youngest child, Kady. The series also starred Noah Gray-Cabey, Meagan Goode, Brooklyn Sudano, and Andrew McFarlane. Wayans son, future New Girl and Happy Endings star Damon Wayans Jr., had a recurring role as Junior's friend John.
Campbell almost did not star in My Wife and Kids. A few years after Martin Lawrence's Martin ended, she heard about the casting call for My Wife and Kids and asked her agent about playing Wayans' on-screen wife. Surprisingly, her agent said the show's producers did not want to see her at first, Campbell revealed in a February 2021 episode of Finesse Mitchell's Understand This podcast.
The actress was undeterred though. She reached out to her former Martin co-star Tichina Arnold, who also auditioned for My Wife and Kids. After looking over Arnold's script, Campbell became certain she was the perfect star for Janet. She called her agent about it again but was still turned down. So, she reached out to a mutual friend of the My Wife and Kids casting director. She learned at that point that Wayans allegedly did not see himself starring opposite Campbell for five seasons.
Campbell decided to audition anyway. During the last stages of the audition process, Campbell showed up unannounced, and Wayans was not happy. But he still agreed to read the script with her. They clicked instantly. "It was so magical," she said, reports Cheat Sheet. Her agent called her later to say she was invited to meet with ABC. "So basically, that's what happened. I went to the network and got the part," Campbell-Martin said.
My Wife and Kids was a consistently strong performer for ABC when it originally aired. The show won BET Comedy Awards in 2004 for Wayans and Campbell, who also won an NAACP Image Award in 2003. The series on Favorite Television New comedy Series and Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series at the 2002 People's Choice Awards.