- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Norman Lear is celebrating his 99th birthday with a script deal.
The legendary writer-producer has set up an updated take on his former comedy Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman at WarnerMedia-backed cable network TBS. The show, which is in the development stage, will star Emily Hampshire in the title role. The Schitt’s Creek alum will also write the script alongside Jacob Tierney (Letterkenny).
Lear and his Act III partner Brent Miller will exec produce the potential series alongside Hampshire and Tierney. The comedy hails from Sony Pictures Television, where Lear’s company remains under an overall deal.
The updated Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was first announced in February when Hampshire and Lear set the project up at Sony, which shopped the comedy to potential buyers. Sources say TBS snapped up the project months ago with all the deals now officially closed.
“The kick of kicks as I turn 99 today is learning that TBS is developing MHMH and will allow us to make a new version of it starring Emily Hampshire,” said Lear, who renewed his longtime deal with Sony on his birthday in 2018. “As someone who believes his 99 years on this planet is owed to the amount of laughter he enjoyed through the years, here’s to the next 99. Bless you all!”
TBS’ Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman focuses on a small-town woman who feels like a nobody in every aspect of her life until she suddenly becomes a “verified” social media somebody after her nervous breakdown goes viral.
Lear, the creator of iconic comedies including All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude and One Day at a Time, is showing no signs of slowing down. TBS’ MHMH is but one of a number of projects Lear has in the works. Lear is returning to Netflix (which famously canceled his One Day at a Time update) and teaming with Seth MacFarlane for an animated take on Good Times. Lear, who broke his own record as the oldest Emmy nominee ever, remains attached to ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience franchise, which re-creates episodes of his famed comedies.
Sony, it’s also worth noting, recently licensed Lear’s vast catalog in a deal with Amazon that will see full seasons of Maude, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, 227, Good Times, the original One Day at a Time, Diff’rent Strokes, Sanford & Son and Sanford stream on the platform and its ad-supported sibling, IMDb TV.
Sony has owned rights to the bulk of Lear’s library since 1985, when it acquired his former production company, Embassy Communications. Lear’s most recent deal with the indie studio allowed it to develop reboots and reimagined takes of his iconic comedies, which led to ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials and Good Times.
MHMH marks a big swing for TBS, which has reduced its scripted roster in recent years as parent company WarnerMedia prioritizes streamer HBO Max. TBS’ live-action scripted lineup includes The Last OG, Miracle Workers and the recently renewed/long-gestating Chad. The basic cable network remains a home to syndicated repeats of Friends and The Big Bang Theory as well as sports and unscripted fare.
The original Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ran for two seasons and more than 300 episodes in syndication from January 1976 to July 1977 and starred Louise Lasser as a housewife in the fictional Fernwood, Ohio, who finds a series of bizarre events happening around her and struggles to cope.
Hampshire is best known for her role as the snarky Stevie Budd on Schitt’s Creek. Her credits include 12 Monkeys and Chapelwaite. She and Tierney previously worked together on his films The Trotsky, Good Neighbors and The Death & Life of John F. Donovan.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day