All in the Family became a hit by breaking with convention. Any topic was fair game for crusty curmudgeon Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), from racism to breast cancer. When one of the main sources of Bunker's ire, Rob Reiner's Mike Stivic, left the show, the sounding board for Bunker's backwards ideas was lost. He was replaced with a little girl named Stephanie (Danielle Brisebois) who was abandoned by her father. Even a man who's as rough around the edges as Bunker is going to be softened by a young orphan child.
Needless to say, a little girl did not provide the same level of comic antagonism as Rob Reiner. The next season saw a re-naming of the show and the death of Archie's wife in a last-ditch, failed attempt to revive a once-great program that was already dead.