Are you ready to “get happy” once again? The Partridge Family is coming back to television. Interestingly, this isn’t the first attempt at reviving the Partridge clan.
The Partridge Family debuted on September 25, 1970 on ABC. The light-hearted family sitcom tells the story of widowed mother Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) and her five children (Keith, Laurie, Danny, Chris, and Tracey) as they embark on a career in pop music. The kids were played by David Cassidy, Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Jeremy Gelbwaks (later Brian Forster), and Suzanne Crough, respectively. Dave Madden played the family’s long-suffering manager, Reuben Kincaid. Cassidy, Jones’ real-life step-son, became a very popular teen idol during the show’s run. The series ran for four seasons and spawned actual hit songs (most notably, ” I Think I Love You “) and a few spin-offs.
The four youngest Partridge kids appeared as occasional guests on ABC’s animated Goober and the Ghost Chasers series in 1973. That paved the way for an animated Partridge spin-off that debuted on CBS in 1974, a few months after The Partridge Family sitcom had ended. Partridge Family 2200 A.D. found the familiar characters now living in a Jetson-like future, driving a multi-colored flying car. Bonaduce, Forster and Crough voiced their characters for the 16 episodes while Dey took part in only two.
The Partridge clan disappeared from series television but their fans didn’t forget about them. On the premiere episode of The Ben Stiller Show in 1992, Madden reprised his role as Reuben who had once been the manager of U2. As part of 1995’s MTV Video Award spoof of the Speed movie, Jones drives the Partridge bus while Madden tries to extort money from Bonaduce. In 2001, Bonaduce reprised his role as Danny on the short-lived The Rerun Show.
In 2004, VH1 ran a talent competition to cast a new version of the Partridge sitcom. In Search of the Partridge Family ran for seven episodes. Cassidy was an executive producer on the series and he, Jones, and Bonaduce participated onscreen. A pilot for The New Partridge Family aired on January 22, 2005 with Bonaduce appearing in a cameo role as Mr. Partridge. The series didn’t move forward.
Now, Reveille and Geffen Records have announced that they’re going to try doing The Partridge Family as a new series. The idea to do a new version apparently came out of their brainstorming on ways to do a family show that revolves around the music industry. Geffen Records chairman Ron Fair told Variety, “We decided to take a shot at acquiring the original rights and resurrecting the show with a new spin.”
The new Partridge series is being written by Jeff Rake (Cashmere Mafia) and has generated interest from the networks. It will be executive produced by Rake, Fair, and Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine.
Though the new show will bear a resemblance to the original, fans shouldn’t expect a copy of the beloved sitcom. Fair noted, “We’re not going to be caught up in nostalgia. The original was a great touchstone — our goal is to use it and spring forward from it.”