'The Goldbergs' Goes '80s Behind the Camera With Directors Lea Thompson, Joanna Kerns (Exclusive)

The 'Back to the Future' and 'Growing Pains' alums will each helm an episode of ABC's 1980-something comedy.
Courtesy of ABC; Getty Images
'The Goldbergs'

ABC's The Goldbergs is welcoming a pair of 1980s icons to its ranks.

The 1980-something-set comedy, inspired by the life of showrunner Adam F. Goldberg, has tapped Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) and Joanna Kerns (Growing Pains) to each direct episodes of season four. Their episodes will air later this fall.

"I am so excited to be working with Joanna Kerns and Lea Thompson!" Goldberg tells THR. "They've played such big and influential roles in some of the most iconic and personally impactful TV and movies. Frankly, their work from the '80s inspired me to be the writer I am today. I’ve already had Lea sign my hoverboard and geeked out about Growing Pains with Joanna."

Kerns starred as Maggie Seaver for seven seasons on ABC's Growing Pains, where she also directed. Since then, she has emerged as a go-to TV director, helming installments of series including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Pretty Little Liars, Nashville, Switched at Birth, ER, Dawson's Creek, Ally McBeal and several more.

"I feel privileged to be directing The Goldbergs this season," Kerns said. "I love this show; it makes me happy. The scripts are laugh-out-loud funny and this cast is impeccable. As I prep my first episode right now and walk around the sets, it makes you realize how much our lives have changed since the '80s. Adam has truly captured every nuance. My show, Growing Pains, first aired in 1985 so I can't help but think that maybe Adam and his family sat on their couch and watched the Seavers on Tuesday nights. Maybe? I'm also pleased that the talented and funny Lea Thompson will be directing this season so there will be two women in the directing chair and looking forward to the day that won't be news."

For Thompson, who stars on Switched at Birth, the ABC family comedy will mark her first broadcast directing gig following multiple episodes of her Freeform series as well as a pair of Hallmark TV movies.

"I am so thrilled to have this opportunity to direct The Goldbergs," she said of the show that also featured a Back to the Future nod. "I have been a fan since the pilot and always felt at home in their wonderful world. I cannot wait to stir their delicious Matzo Ball soup."  

For a show that doesn't rely on '80s stars to cameo, this is certainly one way to come full circle.

Kearns is repped by Paradigm; Thompson is with Innovative. The Goldbergs returns in its new time slot Wednesdays at 8 p.m. starting Sept. 21.

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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