The Wonder Years: ABC, Lee Daniels Developing Black Family-Led Reboot

Lee Daniels (Empire), writer Saladin Patterson (Frasier, The Bernie Mac Show, The Big Bang Theory), and original series co-creator Neal Marlens and star Fred Savage are teaming up to bring The Wonder Years back to ABC. The reboot of the popular coming-of-age comedy will focus on how a Black middle-class family in late 1960s Montgomery, Alabama, was able to live out their "wonder years" during a very turbulent time in modern American history. Targeted for the 2021-2022 television season, the project received a strong pilot-production commitment and is expected to open a writers' room once script approvals are in place. Patterson will pen the script, with Savage expected to direct and Marlens serving as a consultant. Daniel, Patterson, Savage, and Lee Daniels Entertainment banner president Marc Velez will executive produce, with Disney-owned 20th Century Fox Television producing.

The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years is getting a reboot at ABC (Image: Disney).

Reportedly, the project was brought directly to ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke by Daniels, Velez, Patterson, and Savage- and with good reason. Burke has said in the past that The Wonder Years was one of the shows that influenced her to work in television. The project comes at a time when the network finds itself with a lighter-than-usual pilot load for filming, in large part due to the massive number of productions that were shut down over COVID-19 pandemic concerns. A major advantage that a project like The Wonder Years has going for it in a crowded sea of production pitches? Familiarity. Running for six seasons between 1988 and 1993, the series has a "brand name" that will get an executive's attention on a list of pilots. In addition, bringing back a series with a level of popularity that the original series did reduces marketing and promoting costs. Throw into the mix that one of the original series' co-creators and its star are involved and you have the makings of strong pilot potential.

The Hollywood Reporter

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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