(This is an expanded version of a story I posted earlier today)
PASADENA, Cal. – “Thirtysomething” is heading back to ABC, at the age of … well, thirtysomething.
The show started 32 years ago and ended four years later, with a pile of awards and a niche in society. It was “so embedded in popular culture that its title was entered into the dictionary,” said Karey Burke, who is president of ABC Entertainment.
So now she may be bringing it back. The deal finances a pilot film and setting up a writers’ room for a possible series this fall.
The sequel is going by the title “thirtysomething(else).” Burke said it will have “the original series creators (and) original adult cast,” while “introducing an ensemble of new faces.”
It will do that by focusing on the offspring of the two couples on the show – the Steadmans (Ken Olin and Mel Harris) and the Westons (Tim Busfield and Patricia Wettig).
Each couple had two children. The new generation, Burke said, has a different notion of life in their 30s. “They’re taking longer to get married and start families, and those families are smaller. They can’t afford their own home; many still live at home. And they’re the first generation raised with the internet and around social media.”
They’ll be the focus, but their parents will also be there. “We’re all very excited,” Busfield said.
And they’re ready to travel. The show will be shot in Vancouver, requiring frequent flying for Olin and Wettig (who are married to each other in real life), Busfield (who is in an ABC series,“For Life,” being filmed in New York) and for Harris
The original stars, now rangibng from 62 to 68, were part of a show that made a quick impact. It drew best-series Emmy nominations every year, winning once. It also drew acting Emmys for Wettig (three times), Busfield and Melanie Mayron.
Since then, Burke said, “Ed and Marshall were approached many, many times about bringing the show back, but they always declineed.” That changed, she said, with a chance to observe “the huge sea change in just one generation.”
The pilot will be directed by Zwick, who drew Golden Globe nominations for directing the movies “Glory” and “Legends of the Fall.”
Burke also announced:
— The next ABC musical will be Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein.”
– Lesley Jones, formerly of “Saturday Night Live,” will host a revival of the “Supermarket Sweep” game show, expected this summer.
— And there will be a new “Bachelor” spin-off this spring, trying to match musicians who are single.