ABC is putting parents under the microscope. The network is set to preview “The Parent Test,” a new unscripted series that follows 12 families as they are run through various situations, with a special premiere on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 10 p.m. ET (following the special “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration”).

Comedian Ali Wentworth (“Head Case”) hosts “The Parent Test” and moderates the series’ conversations with parents alongside Dr. Adolph Brown (who goes by the nickname “Doc Brown”), a master teacher and clinical psychologist who serves as the show’s parenting expert.

“I hope it starts much more of a national conversation about how we’re raising our kids,” Wentworth says. “I think what the pandemic did was throw all the old ideas about parenting out the window. Things like screens and social media, where you may have had a rule about it before the pandemic. But then, you wanted your kids to feel connected, so you let them stay on screens much longer than you would have otherwise. I also think the younger generations are experiencing a real mental health crisis that we haven’t even figured out yet, that we haven’t even collected the data on it yet.”

Adds Brown: “I was interested in being a part of a show that had heart, had humor, but also actually has some explosion. I thought it was going to be extremely value added, and a conversation that was going to be constructive on behalf of our most precious human resources, our children.”

Eureka Prods. is behind the show, which is based on the hit Australian format “Parental Guidance” (which airs there on Nine Network). Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin, Eden Gaha and David Tibballs are executive producers, while Charles Wachter is showrunner and exec producer, and Brian Smith is director and exec producer.

Both Wentworth and Brown watched the Australian version but knew the U.S. edition would wind up looking a bit different.

“I felt like some of the things that weren’t said, or undertones that weren’t fully explored in the Australian show would really be powerful if done in America,” Brown says. ““People will watch [‘The Parent Test’] and see best practices and some things they may think is malpractice. Every parent wants healthy and happy children. That’s the bottom line. There was a collective compassion that I saw on the set that every parent wanted to know what was the best style of parenting, even though they were pretty much advocating for their own. They were open minded and open hearted, to listen to others.”

Brown has spent more than 30 years as a university research scientist and tenured full professor, and is also the father of eight children and grandparent of two. Wentworth and husband George Stephanopolous have two children; parenting has been a major part of her Shondaland & iHeart podcast “Go Ask Ali.”

“The parenting space is one that I particularly love because I am a parent, and I talk a lot about parenting stuff in my podcast,” Wentworth says. “And I write a lot about parenting in my book. Parenting is where I spend my life these days. And I love the idea of different parenting styles because I spend a lot of time talking to other parents about their parenting styles and what works and what doesn’t. It seems to be a conversation that everybody has.”

On “The Parent Test,” the 12 families “are put under the microscope in the ultimate parental stress test and will share learnings about emotional hot-button topics that compare the multiple styles of parenting. The families are put through various situations to foster conversations about how each unit operates,” per the show’s logline.

Says Wentworth: “There’s no exact science to parenting, which is why there have been a million books written about it. What’s interesting about the show is that you can listen to a lot of different parenting styles and then create your own. You can see how the helicopter parents deal with one situation and you go, ‘Oh, that’s good. I’m going to do that.’ But maybe the free-range parents have a different way of dealing with another scenario, and you can kind of pull that from them.”

Wentworth’s credits also include Pop TV’s “Nightcap” and the films “It’s Complicated,” “Jerry Maguire,” ‘Office Space” and “Trial and Error.” In signing on to host “The Parent Test,” she says she didn’t expect to get as emotionally invested as she did.

“I rely on comedy a lot to make points,” Wentworth says. “I use comedy to parent. So as a host, I thought it was going to be very lighthearted. But I found that yes, there are lighthearted moments, but I felt very connected to these families. I didn’t realize how raw I was as a parent by talking to them and their issues. Doc and I were really deep in the trenches when we were shooting this and developed relationships with all these families, and had our own insights about our own families. As a host, I had no idea how deeply involved I was going to get.”

Brown says some parents are in for a wakeup call when watching the show.

“Every parent who’s watching will find out, based on all the parenting styles that are being exhibited, that good parenting is actually inconvenient,” Brown says. “People don’t talk about that. It’s something that we all choose to do and want to do, and want to do it better.”