'Wonder Years' reboot, focusing on Black family in 1960's Alabama, gets green light

After being greenlit by ABC, the much-beloved coming of age comedy/drama series The Wonder Years is set to receive the reboot treatment next year — but this time, the series will follow the lives of a middle-class Black family in Alabama.

After landing a pilot-production commitment, a newly, updated version of the show, helmed by a variety of renowned producers, could be making its way back to ABC as soon as 2021 — so long as the broadcasting giant approves the pilot script — according to the Hollywood Reporter.

As well as original Wonder Years star Fred Savage, Empire director Lee Daniels and the president of his own entertainment company, Marc Valez, will serve as executive producers.

Comedy TV-producing veteran Saladin K. Patterson (The Bernie Mac Show, Frasier) will join the trio as a co-executive producer too, while also penning the debut script.

In this Aug. 6, 2015, file photo, Lee Daniels attends the 2015 Summer TCA - Fox All-Star Party at Soho House in Los Angeles, Calif.

In this Aug. 6, 2015, file photo, Lee Daniels attends the 2015 Summer TCA - Fox All-Star Party at Soho House in Los Angeles, Calif.

Paul A. Hebert/Invision

In addition, Wonder Years co-creator Neal Marlens is attached to the project as a consultant, while Savage, 44, will also direct the pilot. The child star is best known for his role as Kevin Arnold in the six season-spanning show.

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For those who may not know, The Wonder Years followed the Arnolds, a white, middle-class family living in the suburbs somewhere in the U.S.

Though it was never explicitly revealed where the Arnold family was based, the Wonder Years‘ revival is set to take place specifically in Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.

Much like the original series, which ran between 1988 and 1993 on ABC, the reinvented Wonder Years will also take place in the late 1960s.

'The Wonder Years' cast poses for publicity photos in 1988.

'The Wonder Years' cast poses for publicity photos in 1988.

ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Image

The news comes in the wake of international Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice.

Along with the death of other Black Americans, including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the killing of George Floyd in May has helped renew calls to fight systemic racism and put an end to police brutality across the world.

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The impact of the Black Lives Matter movement has also made a large impact on the film and TV industry, with many changes being made to account for equality, inclusion and the removal of other racist and offensive content.

Affected TV shows include 30 Rock — which featured characters in blackface — and South Park, both of which had episodes removed or omitted from streaming services, as well as the cancellation of Cops and Live PD.

The two smash-hit police/crime series ceased production and were dropped by their respective networks earlier this month.

The worldwide protests — led by the Black Lives Matter movement — also inspired HBO Max to re-release Gone With the Wind with a new introduction that includes Black scholar and television host Jacqueline Stewart adding historical context to the film for the viewer.

The 1939 classic film has been long criticized for romanticizing slavery and the Civil War-era American South.

As of this writing, it’s unclear when ABC will decide to go forward with Patterson’s pilot for The Wonder Years.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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