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CBS is going “straight to the moon.”
The network has put in development a modern-day reboot of one of television’s most iconic comedies, The Honeymooners.
The multicamera comedy hails from Bob Kushell, who will pen the script and executive produce the CBS Television Studios comedy. The new take centers on two couples — best friends and neighbors like the original — who contend with a new dynamic when one couple remarries after divorcing four years earlier.
Kushell, the well-liked showrunner who most recently developed ABC’s Muppets reboot, will executive produce alongside Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum as well as Jeff Greenstein (Mom, Will & Grace, Desperate Housewives, Friends).
The Honeymooners expands CBS’ relationship with CBS Television Studios-based Beverly and Timberman as well as the Tannenbaums, who together exec produce the network’s reboot of another comedy classic, The Odd Couple.
The original Honeymooners starred Jackie Gleason (as Ralph Kramden), Audrey Meadows (Alice), Art Carney (Ed) and Joyce Randolph (Trixie). It was based on a recurring 1950s sketch that originally aired on the DuMont network’s Cavalcade of Stars and eventually on CBS’ The Jackie Gleason Show. The Honeymooners debuted as a half-hour series in 1955, becoming the No. 2 show in the country during its freshman run. The series wrapped after only 39 episodes in 1956. Creator, producer and star Gleason revived the series sporadically until 1978. The classic sitcom ranks as one of the first U.S. TV series to portray working-class married couples in a gritty setting, with episodes largely taking place in the families’ rundown Brooklyn apartment building. (Repeats of The Honeymooners currently air on MeTV.)
The CBS project marks the latest revival of The Honeymooners. A feature film version, from Paramount Pictures and starring Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union, Mike Epps and Regina Hall, debuted in 2005 to poor reviews and a disappointing box office.
The Honeymooners reboot comes as family comedies continue to remain in high demand this development season as broadcast networks look for more inclusive, broad-skewing fare that appeals to underserved audiences. For its part, Netflix in January will debut a new take on Norman Lear’s sitcom classic One Day at a Time, with the iconic producer attached.
Reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape that is quickly approaching 500 original series. Key to the remakes is having the original producers involved in some capacity as more studios look to monetize their existing libraries. (Given CBS aired and distributed the original, that much is true for The Honeymooners.)
Already in the works this season are reboots of Car Wash (ABC), Sneakers (NBC), Enemy of the State (ABC), Dynasty (The CW), War of the Worlds (MTV), Magnum P.I. (ABC), The Lost Boys (CW), Varsity Blues (CMT), The Departed (Amazon), Let the Right One In (TNT) and L.A. Law, among many others.
Kushell, whose credits include 3rd Rock From the Sun, The Simpsons and Samantha Who, is repped by Rain Management and Hansen Jacobson. Greenstein is with CAA and Jackoway Tyerman; the Tannenbaums and Timberman-Beverly are with CAA and Del Shaw.
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