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Parenthood: NBC Wants a Second Series Based on the Movie — Will This One Work?

ParenthoodBack in 1989, Ron Howard directed Parenthood, a charming family movie about the extended Buckman clan and the trials and tribulations of raising children. The light-hearted film was a box office success and stars a diverse cast including Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Martha Plimpton, and Joaquin Phoenix. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards, with Wiest being nominated for Best Supporting Actress and composer Randy Newman landing a Best Song nomination.

Based on the success of the film, NBC decided to try making a Parenthood TV show. The plot was very similar and three actors reprised their suppting roles; Ivyann Schwan, Zachary La Voy, and Max Elliott Slade. The series stars Ed Begley, Jr., Maryedith Burrell, Ken Ober, William Windom, and Jayne Atkinson. Curiously, many of the young and virtually unknown castmembers have gone on to a great amount of success over the years — David Arquette, Thora Birch, and some guy named Leonardo DiCaprio. Other castmembers include Mary Jackson, Sheila MacRae, Bess Meyer, Susan Norman.

Though the half-hour sitcom was co-written by a pre-Buffy the Vampire Slayer Joss Whedon, it wasn’t a favorite with viewers or critics. Only 12 episodes were made before Parenthood was cancelled. The last episode aired on August 11, 1991.

Will a new Parenthood be a success?

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Now, 20 years after the theatrical release of the movie, NBC is developing a new Parenthood TV show. It’s being adapted by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) who will executive produce, along with Imagine TV’s Howard and Brian Grazier. The project supposedly will not interfere with Katim’s commitment to Lights, should it be renewed for another season.

Peter Krause (Dirty Sexy Money) and Maura Tierney (ER) have just been cast in the project and will play the roles originated by Martin and Weist in the film version. They join several other cancelled TV show veterans. Erika Christensen (Six Degrees), Mae Whitman (Arrested Development), Sarah Ramos (Runaway), are all set to co-star and Craig T. Nelson (Coach) and Dax Shepard (Punk’d) are currently in negotiations to join them.

This new version of Parenthood will be an hour-long update of the original and take into account the modern challenges of parenting in today’s fast-paced world. The network has committed to shooting a pilot but hasn’t given the series a full greenlight yet.


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginger March 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm

just watched the premiere episode… amazing! and kudos to nbc for writing a story line about parents dealing with their child’s autism diagnosis.


D.O.C. March 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I just watched the pilot and it has a fairly normal dysfunctional family.


Anonymous March 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I thinl the TV show was BAD BAD BAD……..there is a large part of America who do not want kids, do not like kids, and evne feel that kids inhibit the potential pf people!! I think a better shoe would be about that!! It seems it is easier to HAVE a baby – than be responsible enough not too! I am an executive, an attorney, and I do not want kids, neither does my husband who is a doctor….where is our voice!!!


D.O.C. March 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm

how come your parents had kids???????????


Vercellino May 29, 2009 at 7:17 am

Checking oot Parenthood series We were the cleaning company who cleaned the Berkeley hm and Mill Valley home just curious on what we were apart of good luck Jim V


God May 12, 2009 at 4:34 am

Susan Norman was awesome in the first NBC version of Parenthood.
She also played the main character in Knight Rider 2000, NBCs remake of Knight Rider.
Last I heard Susan dropped out of doing acting.
It’s a shame too, she was the best…

Odd that a new version of Parenthood is being released as they have another Knight Rider remake as well.


MillValleyGirl April 26, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I just drove by the filming for the pilot episode at Mill Valley Middle School. So many trailers; I’m getting the chance to be an extra!


Mark April 25, 2009 at 11:58 pm

I will definitely watch – I love Mae Whitman ever since she was a little girl – the script is not the same and the cast of course is not the same but as long as the feel of the show is the same it will definitely work – NBC needs a good dramedy and this one seems like a perfect fit!!


Shauna Shoop April 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm

My daughter who is a model/actress got called by the casting company for the shoot in Berkeley this week as an extra, unfortunately she was unavailable, we were bummed about that, would have been great, can’t wait to see the series.


Ben Marklein April 20, 2009 at 9:18 am

We got a notice in our mailbox that they’re shooting a scene for the pilot on our block in Berkeley CA this week.


Leonardo Fan April 8, 2009 at 4:26 pm

What would we do without Leo Dicaprio! I have seen just about all of his movies, and love them all! I think I first fell in love with him in Gilbert Grape. Some people say he is not cute anymore, but I think he is perfect in every way, and has gotten sexier with every film he makes! His amazing talent is a really big part of what makes him so attractive. Keep up the amazing work Leo! Luv you!


PamelaJaye April 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I’d love to see this. I don’t know what happened with me and the original series.


Danielle March 25, 2009 at 9:05 am

Ditto, I LOVE this movie! I hope they keep that mix of generational differences and contrasting parenting styles that made the movie so good!


admin March 25, 2009 at 8:32 am

@Matt: That’s an excellent point. It’ll be an hour long show. I’ll revise the article to include that info. Thanks!


Matt March 25, 2009 at 8:16 am

The 1990 NBC Parenthood show was a half-hour single camera “sitcom.” Will the new show be an hour long “dramedy” like Brothers and Sisters, or another sitcom?


ND Mitchell March 25, 2009 at 4:12 am

I loved the film, Parenthood. I think it might make it so why not….go for it especially with Peter Krause in the show, you can’t go wrong. Just make sure in the script for every episode that you have Peter’s shirt off for a few minutes to show that sexy hairy chest. ;)


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