PBS Acquires Martin Sheen's 'Anne of Green Gables' Reboot for U.S. Broadcast

Martin Sheen - Getty - H 2016
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Martin Sheen - Getty - H 2016

The pubcaster will premiere the revival Stateside in November.

PBS has picked up U.S. rights to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, a revival of the classic Canadian kids novel about the spunky, red-haired orphan Anne Shirley.

Martin Sheen toplines Breakthrough Entertainment's TV movie, which was shot in Canada by director John Kent Harrison and based on an original script by Susan Coyne. The all-rights broadcast deal will see PBS broadcast the latest Anne of Green Gables reboot nationally on Thursday, Nov. 24, in time for Thanksgiving.

Sheen plays Matthew Cuthbert, 13-year-old newcomer Ella Ballentine portrays Anne Shirley and Sara Botsford is Marilla Cuthbert. The 1908 Canadian kids novel Anne of Green Gables has sold 50 million copies worldwide.

Disney Channel aired its own heart-warming portrayal of small-town Canadiana when it broadcast the Anne of Green Gables spinoff drama Avonlea during the '80s and '90s. Canada's CBC has greenlighted a separate straight-to-series adaptation of Montgomery's children's novel from Breaking Bad alum Moira Walley-Beckett.

"The story and Anne character have become a staple of childhood innocence and inspiration," Michael Kelley, senior vp programming and business affairs at PBS, said Sunday in a statement. "Breakthrough’s revival of this globally recognized literary story has delighted so many viewers in Canada and around the world and we are glad to secure this film for broadcast on PBS." 

Breakthrough worked closed on the revival with Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, who executive produce the project.