ABC revives ‘The Wonder Years’ with Black family in Alabama

ABC revives ‘The Wonder Years’ with Black family in Alabama
A new version of "The Wonder Years" will take place in Montgomery and focus on a middle-class Black family in the late 1960s. Fred Savage, left, who starred in the original series, is executive producing along with "Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels. (Bloomberg)

ABC is rebooting “The Wonder Years,” a beloved coming-of-age sitcom about the U.S. middle class, only this time it will tell the story of a Black family in Alabama.

“Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels is executive producer of the project, alongside Fred Savage, the star of the original series that debuted in 1988. Neal Marlens, who co-created “The Wonder Years,” will serve as a consultant.

ABC has only committed to produce a pilot of the show, which means it may never get on the air. But ABC and its owner Walt Disney Co. have made a priority of telling more Black stories following the killing of George Floyd, which brought a wave of protests about racial injustice.

Hollywood has long struggled to produce shows that represent the diversity of America. ABC was once the home to both Kenya Barris and Shonda Rhimes, two of the most prominent Black writers in TV, but both have since signed deals with Netflix Inc.

Disney also announced an overall production deal with football player and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick earlier this week.

“The Wonder Years,” which ran until 1993, originally depicted Kevin Arnold, a young boy in what was presented as a typical American family dealing with the tribulations of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The new show will take place in Montgomery with a Black middle-class family as the focus. There is no indication if the show will be filmed in Montgomery or any part of Alabama. Filmmaker and comedian Roy Wood Jr. has been advocating for more television shows and movies to be filmed in Alabama.

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