7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Vacation' TV Spinoff 'The Griswolds' in the Works at HBO Max
The Griswolds are back!
Johnny Galecki is bringing a new take on National Lampoon's beloved Vacation franchise to HBO Max. The Big Bang Theory grad will exec produce The Griswolds, a single-camera comedy about what happens when the disaster-prone family returns home from vacation. The project brings Galecki back into the Vacation world after he had a role in 1989's Christmas Vacation.
The Griswolds, which currently has a script development deal, will follow the family and explore their daily lives in the suburbs of modern-day Chicago.
Tim Hobert (Spin City, Scrubs, Community, The Middle) will pen the script and exec produce the comedy alongside Galecki and his Alcide Bava topper Holly Brown. The potential series hails from Warner Bros. Television, where Galecki remains under a rich overall deal after wrapping his 12-season run on Chuck Lorre's megahit Big Bang Theory. Alcide Bava's Cory Wood will produce.
The comedy is based on National Lampoon's Vacation films, which were all produced by Warner Bros. Pictures. It's unclear if any members of the Vacation franchise — Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Ed Helms — will have roles in The Griswolds or if it will go the opposite direction and feature an entirely new cast.
The Griswolds is the latest example of media conglomerates, like HBO Max parent company WarnerMedia, harnessing the power of the company's deep well of intellectual properties to bolster one of their own brands. HBO Max — which will feature all 12 seasons of Big Bang Theory at launch as the show makes its streaming debut — also has new incarnations of Warners-owned franchises, including Adventure Time, Gossip Girl, Gremlins and Looney Tunes, and more. Other companies are following the same model: Disney+ and its Marvel and Pixar feature film TV offshoots and NBCUniversal's forthcoming Peacock with new iterations of Battlestar Galactica and Saved by the Bell.
HBO Max, like Peacock, is using star power library titles like Big Bang Theory, The Office and Parks and Recreation to feature other shows from the same cast and producers. At HBO Max, for example, Galecki's Big Bang Theory onscreen bride Kaley Cuoco will star in drama The Flight Attendant, while Peacock features a new show from Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur (starring The Office grad Helms).
The Griswolds, meanwhile, is Galecki and Alcide Bava Productions' latest development deal. The Big Bang and Roseanne/The Conners star also has comedy Bait and Tackle in the works at CBS and esports half-hour The Squad set up at NBC this season, among other projects. Since wrapping Big Bang, he has focused on producing and was behind CBS comedy Living Biblically and feature The Master Cleanse. Alcide Bava — which Galecki launched in 2015 — also has other TV shows, features and a live musical theater project in the works. Galecki is repped by WME and Management 360.
The Vacation franchise was initially based on John Hughes' short story and thus far comprises five main films — including two that were not backed by National Lampoon — and one spinoff. They are 1983's Vacation, 1985's European Vacation, 1989's Christmas Vacation, 1997's Vegas Vacation and 2015's revival, Vacation. A made-for-TV movie, Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, aired on NBC in 2003. Members of the iconic cast stepped back into character for an Old Navy ad campaign in 2012.
HBO Max is expected to launch in May at a cost of $15 a month (the same as a cable subscription to HBO) and features scripted originals targeting women and families as well as offering the entire HBO library (including hits like The Sopranos and Game of Thrones).