ABC has given a pilot order to single-camera comedy The Greatest American Hero, a re-imagining of Steven J. Cannell’s 1981 cult classic with a female twist. In it, the unlikely (super)hero at the center — Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt) in the original series — is Meera, an Indian-American woman.
The Greatest American Hero, which had a put pilot commitment, hails from Fresh Off the Boat writer-producer Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan’s Fierce Baby. 20th Century Fox TV, where Fierce Baby and Fruchbom are based, co-produces with ABC Studios.
While currently separate, 20th TV and ABC Studios are expected to be merged once Disney’s acquisition of key Fox assets, including 20th TV, is complete. This is the first 20th TV project to get a green light at ABC after the pending mega-merger was announced last month.
Inspired by the 1980s TV show of the same name, the reimagining of Greatest American Hero centers around Meera, a 30-year-old woman who loves tequila and karaoke and has spent her life searching and failing to find meaning, much to the chagrin of her traditional Indian-American family. An inexplicable event occurs that will change the course of Meera’s life forever: she is entrusted with a super suit to protect the planet. Meera may have finally found purpose, but the world has never been in more unreliable hands.
Fruchbom executive produces with Fierce Baby’s Khan and Mandy Summers, as well as Cannell’s daughter, television director Tawnia McKiernan.
This marks The Greatest American Hero‘s return to ABC, where the original sci-fi dramedy series, created by TV legend Cannell and starring Katt and Robert Culp, aired for three seasons and yielded a hit with its theme song, “Believe It or Not.”
20th TV, which owns rights to the original series, previously attempted to reboot The Greatest American Hero in 2015 and 2016 with different writers. Both incarnations, produced by Phil Lord & Chris Miller and McKiernan, were set up at Fox with put pilot and pilot production commitment, respectively, but did not go to pilot.
This is the second single-camera comedy ordered to pilot this season at ABC. The network also has an untitled 1970s family comedy from Last Man Standing showrunner Tim Doyle and ABC Studios.