EXCLUSIVE: The classic father-son tale of The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father is making a return to television as a single-camera comedy co-starring and produced by White Collar‘s Willie Garson and written/executive produced by Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. The project, which has landed at Fox with penalty, hails from Warner Bros. TV, which has the rights to the title, and Conan O’Brien’s studio-based Conaco. The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father is one of two TV comedy sales for feature writer-directors Levin and Flacketts (Little Manhattan, Nim’s Island), along with Confusing, which has been set up NBC, also with penalty attached and also with WBTV producing.
Courtship Of Eddie’s Father started as a book by Mark Toby. It was adapted as a 1963 movie starring Glenn Ford as widowed father Tom Corbett, with his young son Eddie, played by Ron Howard, serving as his matchmaker. The movie inspired a 1969 sitcom, which ran on ABC for three seasons.
The new Courtship Of Eddie’s Father will be based on the 1969 series, which starred Bill Bixby as Tom and Brandon Cruz as Eddie. Married duo Levin and Flackett teamed for the re-imagining with their longtime friend Garson as the redo also is inspired by Garson’s own experience as an adoptive single father and his “best friends” approach to raising his adopted son. Levin, Flackett and Garson will co-write the story together, with Levin and Flackett writing the teleplay.
Garson is attached to play Norman Tinker, friend and colleague to Tom Corbett. In the original series, Norman was played by James Komack, the show’s creator. Levin and Flackett executive produce via theirs Fathouse Industry alongside Conaco’s O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger.
The project comes a decade after another remake of the 1969 series. Titled Eddie’s Father, it went to pilot at the WB in 2004 with Marry Me‘s Ken Marino as Tom and Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson as Eddie, plus Cruz in a supporting role.
It’s a busy TV selling season for Levin & Flackett, who are back at work after taking off a year to travel around the world with their kids. The other comedy project they are writing and executive producing, Confusing at NBC, is described as a complicated family relationship comedy born from Levin’s real life when his mother started dating his father’s second wife’s brother.
This marks a return to their TV roots for Levin and Flackett, who worked on such series as Beverly Hills, 90210 and L.A. Law before segueing to features. Their 2012 Blacklisted screenplay Our Name Is Adam, co-written with T.S. Nowlin, has Tom Cruise attached to star at Paramount. Levin & Flackett, repped by WME and Ziffren, also are prepping their independent film The Man’s Guide To Love, which they wrote and will direct, for a spring 2015 shoot in Los Angeles. The two produce with Laurence Mark (Dreamgirls).
Garson, repped by Paradigm, John Carabino Management and attorney Wendy Heller, is wrapping his six-season run on USA Network’s White Collar, whose final six episodes debut on November 6. Conaco is repped by WME.
There have been a slew of movie remakes put in the development by the broadcast networks this season, along with several classic series, including Greatest American Hero, Bewitched and Lost In Space. Here is The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father opening sequence: