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NBC returns to ‘Parenthood’

Network greenlights pilot for hour-long drama

Imagine is going back to its roots, developing a TV version of its 1980s theatrical “Parenthood” for NBC.

Peacock has greenlighted a pilot for “Parenthood,” which is being adapted for TV by “Friday Night Lights” writer-exec producer Jason Katims.

The new “Parenthood” has been created as an hourlong comedy-drama, and will retain the tone of the movie — but with new characters, and with storylines that center on the modern challenges that come with raising kids in this post-Facebook, post-iPod world.

Katims will exec produce “Parenthood” along with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

Imagine TV is stepping outside its deal with 20th Century Fox TV to produce “Parenthood” with Universal Media Studios. That’s because Universal Pictures distributed the original theatrical; under its pact with 20th, Imagine is free to produce series based on its feature titles with any studio.

Imagine also was able to get an exemption from 20th for its other TV series based on a theatrical, “Friday Night Lights.” Imagine produces “Lights” with Universal Media Studios as well.

Project reps Imagine’s second go-round turning “Parenthood” into a TV series. Imagine also produced the short-lived half-hour sitcom “Parenthood” in 1990, with Ed Begley Jr. in the lead role, along with thesps including Leonardo DiCaprio, David Arquette and Thora Birch. The “Parenthood” laffer also repped one of the first TV scribe gigs for Joss Whedon.

That sitcom lasted only 12 episodes, however.

Howard directed the theatrical “Parenthood”; no word about whether he’d helm the smallscreen version as well. Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz wrote the screenplay to the movie, which starred Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Jason Robards, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves and Joaquin Phoenix, among others.

This year reps the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release for “Parenthood.” It’s also the latest 1980s title to get dusted off this development season; other projects from that era in the works include “The Witches of Eastwick” and “V.”

Also on Wednesday, ABC upgraded its put pilot commitment for a new show from scribe Ricky Blitt into a full-fledged pilot order.

Laffer, formerly known as “Threesome,” revolves around a guy in his 30s who is caught between his girlfriend — a single mother — and his slacker best friend (Daily Variety, Jan. 19). Warner Bros. TV produces.

Blitt’s credits include “Family Guy” and creating the Fox comedy “The Winner.” His writing credits also include “The Parent Hood” — no, not the Imagine TV show, but the WB series starring Robert Townsend.

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