ABC revives ‘The Wonder Years’ with Black family at the center

Lucas Shaw
Bloomberg News

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 producing the project, alongside Fred Savage, the star of the original series, which debuted in 1988. Neal Marlens, who co-created “The Wonder Years,” will serve as a consultant.

"The Wonder Years" ran on ABC from 1988 until 1993 and won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1988.

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 telling more Black stories a priority 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.