The Wonder Years: Saycon Sengbloh Joins ABC Reboot Pilot

A little more than a month after Lee Daniels (Empire), writer Saladin Patterson (Dave), original series co-creator Neal Marlens, and original star Fred Savage learned that their reboot of The Wonder Years had received a pilot order from ABC, Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Saycon Sengbloh (In the Dark) has been cast in a lead role. The reboot of the popular coming-of-age comedy focuses 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. Sengbloh is set to play Lillian Williams, the mother of the family. Sharp as a tack, Lillian is confident, kind, perceptive, and has a good sense of humor. She knows exactly the right thing to say to convince you of anything. As a mother, wife, and full-time accountant, she's organized, efficient and hard-working, but she always puts family first. The project received a strong pilot-production commitment last year, with Patterson writing, Savage directing, 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
Image: The CW

Reportedly, the project was brought directly to ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke last year 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.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.