5:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Karate Kid' TV Sequel, Starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, a Go at YouTube Red (Exclusive)
Wax on, again.
Three decades after The Karate Kid, original stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are heading back to the dojo. The duo are set to reprise their roles as underdog Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and bully Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) in a 10-episode straight-to-series follow-up called Cobra Kai for subscription service YouTube Red.
The series, set to bow in 2018, is set 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament and revolves around a down-and-out Johnny who, seeking redemption, reopens the infamous Cobra Kai dojo. It reignites his rivalry with a now-successful Daniel, who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita). The half-hour comedy follows the duo addressing demons from their past and present frustrations — through (what else?) karate.
Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) as well as duo Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar) will pen the script and exec produce. Macchio and Zabka will co-exec produce. Hurwitz and Schlossberg will direct much of the series. Will Smith's Sony Pictures Television Studios-based Overbrook Entertainment will exec produce with James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett overseeing for the company.
Macchio and Zabka are expected to make an appearance Friday at YouTube's portion of the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Beverly Hills.
Asked specifically why they were ditching the familiar Karate Kid title in favor of Cobra Kai, Daniels said it was driven by the story. "If The Karate Kid was Daniel’s story, Cobra Kai is equal parts Daniel and Johnny’s story. Also because this is a series and not a movie, we really wanted to reimagine how the story was told. Changing the name made sense as part of that."
Hurwitz and Schlossberg are with CAA and Hansen Jacobson; Heald is with Paradigm and attorney Howard Abramson. Cobra Kai is the largest TV foray to date for the CAA-repped Overbrook.
Cobra Kai joins a roster of originals at YouTube Red that includes Step Up, Mind Field, 12 Deadly Days, Sing It and more.
Reboots and revivals continue to be in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming platforms look for proven hits in a competitive landscape that includes more than 450 scripted originals. Key reboots and revivals in the works include NBC's Will and Grace — already renewed for another run — as well as ABC's Roseanne, both of which bring the original stars back for more.