EXCLUSIVE: Another classic sitcom is eying a return with its original star. UCP is developing Punky Brewster, a sequel to the 1984 NBC sitcom, with Soleil Moon Frye set to reprise her role as the titular character that became a pop culture icon of the 1980s.
The original multi-camera series, created by David W. Duclon, centered on Punky (Frye), a bright young girl raised by a foster dad (George Gaynes). In the multi-camera/hybrid reboot, Punky (Frye) is now a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self.
The follow-up series is written and executive produced by Steve and Jim Armogida (School of Rock, Grounded For Life). Frye will also serve as executive producer along with Duclon and Emmy-winning producer Jimmy Fox (The Arrangement) of Main Event Media, an All3Media America company.
Punky Brewster, which catapulted its young star Frye to fame, ran for four seasons, two on NBC, the rest in syndication. It nabbed three Primetime Emmy nominations including two for Outstanding Children’s Program. Frye also voiced the Punky character in It’s Punky Brewster, an animated spinoff series that ran two season and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program.
While UCP has produced hourlong and half-hour comedy series with Difficult People, Psych, Playing House and Happy!, Punky Brewster marks a the studio’s first foray into multi-camera/family sitcoms.
Other popular sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s that have made a return with the original stars over the past few years include Boy Meets World, Full House, Will & Grace and Roseanne.
Following her breakout role on Punky Brewster, Frye guest starred on such series as Friends, Saved by the Bell and The Wonder Years and recurred on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch opposite Melissa Joan Hart. Frye has done extensive voice work on numerous animated series and films including The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Proud Family, Robot Chicken, and Bratz. She also hosted three seasons of the Daytime Emmy-winning series Home Made Simple for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network and was an ongoing contributor for Today. Additionally, she has written two books, Happy Chaos and Let’s Get This Party Started. Frye recently wrapped production of Heirlooms, a crime comedy co-starring Shelley Long and Luke Wilson.
Headed by Dawn Olmstead, NBCUniversal-owned UCP is behind Amazon’s Homecoming, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, Hulu’s The Act, USA’s Mr. Robot, Dirty John, The Purge & The Sinner, Syfy’s The Magicians, and YouTube Originals’ Impulse, among others. The studio’s development slate also include Chucky for Syfy, Public Figures for Quibi, and an adaptation of the popular podcast Dr. Death.