ABC is plotting a return trip to “Fantasy Island.” Variety has confirmed the net has partnered with Sony Pictures Television to develop a new version of the fantasy series, with a female lead. The project has a script plus penalty order.
“Fantasy Island,” which hailed from Spelling-Goldberg Productions and was created by Gene Levitt, began as a TV movie on the Alphabet before airing there from 1978 to 1984. It starred Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize as the white-suited host Mr. Roarke and his sidekick Tattoo — and is most remembered for Tattoo’s “The plane! The plane!” catchphrase that opened each episode as travelers arrived on the island to have their wildest dreams come true.
The new version is penned by Sheldon Turner (“X-Men: First Class,” “Up in the Air”) and has plans for a woman to play the host with the most. It will also do away with a literal island; as “Fantasy Island” now serves as the name of a San Francisco-based company geared toward helping clients live out intimate or outlandish fantasies.
Turner is exec producing with Jennifer Klein through their Sony TV-based Vendetta Productions. Josh Berman is also exec producing.
This isn’t the first attempt at rebooting the series. In 1998, ABC aired a remake that starred Malcolm McDowell. It lasted just one season, finishing its run on Sci Fi Channel and UPN. In 2009, Sony TV announced that it had partnered with Mark Burnett to turn the concept into a reality series, but that project never came to fruition.
This project is just the latest in the current trend of female-focused remakes. 20th Century Fox TV is in the early stages of developing a remake of “The A-Team,” which would focus on female members of the American Special Forces group, and Netflix’s “Fuller House” is centered on Candace Cameron-Bure’s character. On the film side, Paul Feig is helming an all-female reboot of “Ghostbusters.”