EXCLUSIVE: Another classic 1990s comedy is making a comeback. An animated revival of Married… with Children headlined by the original series’ stars Katey Sagal, Ed O’Neill, Christina Applegate and David Faustino is being pitched to networks and streamers and is getting strong interest, sources tell Deadline.
The new take on the 1987 Fox sitcom is written by Family Guy executive producer Alex Carter, who serves as showrunner. Sony Pictures Television, which owns and distributes the original series, has been working on the animated project for over a year and closed deals with the quartet of Married… with Children stars before taking it out.
While it is unclear yet where the animated Married… with Children would land, Fox, Hulu and Peacock are considered logical destinations.
Married… with Children, which aired from 1987-97 on Fox, is a signature series for the network. Considered one of the most influential TV shows in pop culture, it was one of the first original scripted series on the then-fledgling network, which helped put it on the map and establish its edgy comedy brand. What’s more, adult animation is in Fox’s DNA, and the network has several animated family comedies, most notably juggernauts The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Meanwhile, Hulu and Peacock are streamers that carry the original series, and adding the new installment would enhance their current collection and bring new viewers to the old episodes too. In addition to finding audiences on streaming, Married.. with Children also remains popular in syndication.
One of the longest-running live-action comedy series on network television, Married… with Children aired for 11 seasons. Created by Michael G. Moye and the late Ron Leavitt, the show follows the Chicago lives of Al Bundy (O’Neill), a misogynistic women’s shoe salesman; his lazy wife, Peggy (Sagal); and their children, Kelly (Applegate) and Bud (Faustino).
Talk about a Married… with Children followup has been around for years, with reports six years ago about Faustino pitching an idea to Sony about a divorced and struggling Bud moving back in the old house with his ex-wife and his best friend while Al and Peg live in Vegas after winning the lottery. Titled Bud, the potential spinoff reportedly came close to reality, backed by the original co-creator Moye as executive producer/showrunner and Sony TV, but ultimately did not move forward over objections from the son of the other co-original creator, Levitt. The other original stars are said to have been supportive of that project but in interviews, they have largely dismissed the prospect of a full-blown Married… with Children revival because of their busy schedules.
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Gradually, the idea for an animated series emerged as it easily accommodates actors’ existing commitments and still could feature some signature elements of the original series, like its famous theme song, Frank Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage.” Sony TV recently took the same route with another classic sitcom in its catalog, Norman Lear’s Good Times, which has an animated version in the works at Netflix.