Rider Strong Recounts Boy Meets World's Journey From 'OK' Ratings to Enduring Cult Hit

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Girl Meets World Rider StrongEveryone seems to love Boy Meets World. In fact, it’s left such an indelible mark on pop culture, it’s now returning to the fold with a much-anticipated sequel series, Girl Meets World.

But series star Rider Strong doesn’t actually remember it that way at all — at least not during the former TGIF staple’s early years.

RELATED | Girl Meets World — Rider Strong Speaks out

“At the time, it was actually a little frustrating for us as a show because we would get good ratings, but we weren’t a hit the way that, say, Sabrina the Teenage Witch — which followed us — was,” the actor shared with TVLine at the Austin-based ATX Festival earlier this month. “Sabrina had better numbers than we did; Boy Meets World was always just ‘OK.’ … There was almost this [behind-the-scenes] sense that no one was really watching our show.”

That all changed, recalled Strong, about halfway through its seven-season run, when “we just started making this show for ourselves in a way. We started doing meta jokes and things that would make us laugh, and I really think it paid off. Doing that built us a little bit of a cult following that’s [now] lasted all this time.”

Referring to BMW‘s recent mainstream resurgence, the actor mused: “I’d like to [believe] we have maintained a fanbase more so than a lot of other ’90s shows because of that” — well, that and the fact that “everyone who was 12-19 at the time [the series was on the air] is now 25-35, and that‘s who controls culture today.”

RELATED | Girl Meets World — Ben Savage Discusses Disney Channel Series

Boy Meets World ReunionAs for whether or not Strong ever relives his BMW glory days during its many daily syndicated airings, the actor offered up a playful denial.

“I actually never watched the show when it was on the air,” he revealed. “It’s probably because I had my awkward teenage phase when it was on television. I did watch the second season with my family — I was around 14 years old — and when you’re at that age, you hate the way you look and talk, so I hated watching it.”

Come to think of it, he added with a nostalgic laugh, “To this day if I watched Boy Meets World, I think I would still cringe.”

Comments (39)

  • keeping my fingers crossed that shawn pops up in GMW. cory without shawn would be too weird!

    Comment by kd86953 – June 22, 2013 08:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I feel like he’s gonna show up as a surprise ala steve carrel and the office finale?

      Comment by jer – June 22, 2013 09:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Umm I’m 19, thank you very much lol
    Really? I remember liking BMW better than Sabrina tho.
    Corey & Topenga FTW

    Comment by Anastasia – June 22, 2013 08:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Then you should learn how to spell CORY.

      Comment by Rob – June 22, 2013 09:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And how to spell Topanga*

      Comment by andjuliesaid – June 22, 2013 10:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I always enjoyeed Sabrina more than BMW. The show was never a ratings hit. In fact I remember it almost didn’t get renewed for a Seventh season and when it did it was originally for only 13 episodes.

    Comment by Steven – June 22, 2013 09:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show was on when I was younger and I never cared for it. The historical Neilsen ratings look like it did ok but nothing special. No major awards. If I didn’t know better I owuld think this site was getting paid to hype this show for Disney. But they would never do that would they???

    Comment by ajintexas – June 22, 2013 09:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh it never won awards and never had great ratings, so it couldn’t POSSIBLY have been could, could it have. After all, awards and ratings are the sole determination of what makes a show good, right?
      (rolls eyes)

      Comment by Emgee – June 22, 2013 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I didn’t say that. What I did say is this site fluffs this show like it was taking home emmy’s and a 4.5 adults 18-49 rating when it was on. It didn’t do either of those things. So either this site is pimping GMW for Disney, or they are hoping to generate page views from this supposed huge fanbase still lurking out there a decade later. Which really if the latter is the case, that means we have a lot of immature young adults out there. I can bellieve that as well, especially based on the immature replies ;)

        Comment by ajintexas – June 22, 2013 11:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • You want to talk about immature? Look at your own posts? You clearly think that ratings and awards are all that determines how good a show was/is?
          Perhaps there are just more people than you think who look for sitcoms with actual substance.

          Comment by Emgee – June 22, 2013 12:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • you lost me at sitcom with substance

            Comment by jestsaying – June 22, 2013 01:40 PM PDT  
          • Say what you want, but BMW was a sitcom and it actually had substance. There was more to the show than just laughs. That’s about as rare is it gets and is part of the reason the show leaves such a legacy.

            Comment by Emgee – June 23, 2013 07:58 AM PDT  
        • If you know anything about TGIF stuff from back in the day, NONE of them were emmy worthy. They were all barely passable crap that made preteens and teens laugh a bit. But nostalgia is a mutha. And yes, we look back at Saved by the Bell and Sabrina and BMW with warmth in our hearts, because it reminds us of our youth. The people that write these posts are probably some of these people so… bam

          Comment by jestsaying – June 22, 2013 01:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • what fantasy world do you live in where quantity or awards automatically translates into quality of entertainment? Awards DO signify good stuff, but other factors do too or instead. How are you not aware of that?

      Comment by len – June 22, 2013 11:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The reason this site is reporting so heavily on it is because the show carries one of the most loyal fanbases of any show, ever. It is a show that will always be relatable to teens and adolescents. It is a show that will always remain in the memories of those who grew up watching the characters for seven years.

      Comment by Emgee – June 22, 2013 11:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Didn’t Megan host the BWM panel at the festival last weekend? So why is this “aj” surprised she interviewed one of the actors? Typical negative Internetter?

      Comment by Lauren – June 22, 2013 01:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You must be trolling, because there is no way anyone who follows a TV news site could be that ignorant. Critically acclaimed shows with cult followings that get ignored by the award shows are quite numerous!

      Comment by Brooke – June 22, 2013 01:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The show stank.

      Comment by Alex – June 22, 2013 08:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Insightful comment you make there. Go back to watching the real housewives of new jersey, now.

        Comment by Emgee – June 23, 2013 08:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ABC’s “TGIF” 2-hour blocks were “must-see TV” for kids and tweens, though. We didn’t watch shows that won awards! What the Disney Channel has been showing in recent years always reminded me of those TGIF shows. I’m 33 and I enjoyed “Hannah Montana” because it was a family show that while it had ridiculous plotlines, I found it funny and it reminded me of those shows of my youth. Many new shows would be plugged into those extra TGIF slots back in the day, but shows like BMW, Family Matters, and Full House remained constants because kids liked them. I haven’t watched BMW since it went off the air, but someone recently gave me the first 2 seasons on DVD, and I am looking forward to watching the series as an adult – and I know I will give GMW a chance!

    Comment by jemeg – June 22, 2013 09:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Boy meets world was better than Sabrina. It was a must watch TGIF. I am happy be be able to watch it again as a channel called abc spark airs it. I am excited to watch girl meets world

    Comment by Michelle – June 22, 2013 12:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Um, THAT was his awkward phase? I had the biggest crush on Shawn at that time, haha.

    Comment by ER – June 22, 2013 12:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was thinking the same thing! He and Devon Sawa were my tween years crushes.

      Comment by Brooke – June 22, 2013 01:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This isn’t the only site that posts lots of articles about “Boy Meets World” and “Girl Meets World.” Lots of other entertainment sites are doing it, too. They’re not doing it to pimp the shows; they’re doing it because, as the article states, “Boy Meets World” has become a cult hit since it ended. New generations of kids discovered the show when it began airing on the Disney Channel in the early 2000s and ABC Family a few years later, and that added to its popularity. Now, the show also airs on MTV and MTV2, which is exposing it to even more new viewers, who are discovering not only how great the show was, but are also able to identify with the main characters. “Boy Meets World” is like the Little Engine That Could, and it seems like it’s more popular now than it ever was during its original run. I, for one, am very happy about that.

    Comment by Brandon – June 22, 2013 01:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You are completely right because I’m one. Of. Those new viewers and I love the show and even though I’m not. A fan Disney shows I look forward to tthe. New show even if its really not in my age range I just wanna. See the origanl characters keep growing now as parents

      Comment by jake – July 17, 2013 05:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Goodness I loved TGIF Fridays. Boy Meets World and Sabrina!!
    I will admit to loving Sabrina more – but that’s cause I was a 14 year old girl who wanted to be a witch. :P

    Comment by mia – June 22, 2013 02:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You guys gotta hear the song about Topanga by The Jolly What! Youtube it Topanga by The Jolly What!

    Comment by Mark – June 22, 2013 08:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I didn’t watch cause in my mother tongue “Topa” is used an epithet for the female genitals…

      Comment by Cynthia – June 24, 2013 11:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • BMW was & is a great TV show that not only gives you innocent laughs but also relays good life lessons if you actually watch & listen.
    I watched the series when I was a little girl, I am now 21 and still watch every re-run I can on ABC Family…
    I don’t care what the ratings back in the day said, if it wasn’t a good series it wouldn’t be getting run along with Saved by the Bell and Smart Guy.
    I have faith in the actors and know GMW will be a great sequel and I’m anxiously awaiting the start of the series.

    Comment by Jeni – June 24, 2013 05:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You can buy the whole entire boy meets world DVD series on amazon .com for $ 68.52 it was a lot cheaper then when I bought mine at 100 something dollars !

      Comment by Kim – July 2, 2013 05:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Boy Meets World raised me.

    Comment by Johnathan Turner – July 7, 2013 11:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As a fan of BMW, I too would like to see the original cast, but let’s face it, GMW is not BMW. I think if their first show is kind of like a where are they now episode whichs spins off into a GMW series, then at least the pilot has some potential. I am just very cautious of thinking Disney’s going to produce the same show that ABC made popuar. I know Disney runs ABC, but keep in mind, Disney has a habit of making shows for very little kids. Even BMW in it’s beginning stages was pretty cheesy. I think we loved the show because we watched the kids grow as people and grow into adults and in many ways it was a mirror of our own lives, focusing on issues we went through. But I don’t want it to feel like a rerun, and I don’t want it to feel cheesy. If I had a 13-year old kid they might get into, but I just don’t see how I can enjoy this myself without the original cast. After all that I also think Disney has a habit of making shows overly and unnecessarily cheesy, and I’m afraid thats what will happen, then the two girls will become 18, and become the next miley cyrus and lindsay lohan of the world, and my image of bmw is tarnished forever. That said, I’ll take the risk. Big risk, big reward. Bigger risk, bigger reward. I learned that from cory and shawn.

    Comment by Matt – July 8, 2013 10:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Exactly my thought. Except I don’t think Girl Meets World will even be popular enough to make the girls become the next miley cyrus, or lindsay lohan. They will just vanish off the face of the earth in a year or so.

      Comment by Isabella – July 26, 2013 03:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hey Im 16 teen years old right now and. Even as. Late in the game as I am as far as watching this show I am truthfully hooked and obsessed. With. This show it. Has a lot of great lessons about life mix. With humerous jokes so yea if I could I would thank the whole. Cast for they done

    Comment by jake – July 17, 2013 05:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have always loved watching BMW. I can’t wait to find out what happened to the entire gang. I hope to see Shawn, Eric, Morgan and their parents as well. Shawn and Cory have been friends forever and should not give that up. Still watching BMW…

    Comment by Sarah Nathan – July 26, 2013 11:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved Boy Meets World. That show was my WORLD. No pun intended. I thought it had pretty good ratings. Everyone I knew my age watched it. Heck, even my brother, which was a couple years older watched it.

    Comment by Isabella – July 26, 2013 03:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • you know I didn’t know bmw was just for kids. I wasn’t a kid when I watched it. I loved it and I still watch the show when the reruns are on. still enjoy it I’m 72

    Comment by karen – August 20, 2013 01:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with those who were pointing out the fact that awards don’t make a show same way awards don’t really make a actor its just a achievement doesn’t mean awards make talent because theirs a lot of great actors that haven’t won awards but the point I’m trying to. make.is I’m only 16 very young towards a lot you and even at my age I love this show and all the actors and I spent over a 100 dallors of my own money to own a great show and make my own memories with this great show so every one has to except the fact every thing that’s good are great will have critics

    Comment by jake – August 29, 2013 10:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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