Show me that smile — again.
ABC has greenlit another reunion movie featuring the cast of the late ’80s comedy hit “Growing Pains.” Telepic has been put on the fast track: Shooting begins next month for a May sweeps airdate.
The first “Growing Pains” reunion pic did boffo for ABC in November 2000, but it took three years and several scripts to figure out the sequel.
Alphabet web execs ultimately went with a script by writers Christina Lynch and Loren Segan (“Noah’s Ark”); Mark Bacino and Jim Green, who were behind the first movie, are back to exec produce in association with Warner Bros. TV.
Movie finds the Seaver kids (Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, Ashley Johnson) up in arms after their parents (Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns) decide to sell the family house.
“It took us a while; we went through a few different versions of the story,” said ABC movies and minis chief Quinn Taylor. “These writers, who I adore, really made it contemporary but stuck to the bones of the show.”
Kerns, who has had a successful second career directing telepics and episodic television, will helm the project.
“When we came to ABC, we told them that we wanted Joanna to direct and they said, ‘absolutely,’ ” Bacino said. “Then we went to Joanna, and she said it would be a fun idea.”
Taylor called the quick assembly of the project a “miracle.”
“The greenlight was a little sudden, and with this cast — everyone has lives and careers — to get them all back and, in this case very quickly, was not easy,” he said. “We’ve got six careers to figure out, including Joanna’s directing commitments.”
Further complicating matters: Gold, currently seen on ABC’s “Celebrity Mole: Yucatan,” is pregnant — although, coincidentally, her character had already been made pregnant in the script.
“It’s great that we were able to pull it off,” Taylor said. “And they all adore that Joanna is directing. For them, it’s a nice full circle.”
Movie will take place in Long Island, where the sitcom was set, but will be shot on a soundstage in New Orleans.
Taylor said the telepic’s act breaks will adhere to the different stages of selling a house — putting it on market, accepting an offer, going into escrow, etc. Narrative will follow kids Mike (Cameron), Ben (Miller), Carol (Gold) and Chrissy (Johnson) Seaver as they all harbor different reasons for trying to keep their parents from selling the house. Parents Jason (Thicke) and Maggie (Kerns) also have very different ideas of their lives post-home. Chelsea Noble also stars, as Mike’s wife Kate.
“It’s all about communication — no one will communicate with each other honestly,” Taylor said.
The first “Growing Pains” movie attracted 15.1 million viewers and a strong 5.8/14 with adults 18-49.