EXCLUSIVE: Disney+ has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to comedy Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. (working title), a re-imagining of the popular 1989 ABC series Doogie Howser, M.D.. The project (fka Doogie Kealoha, M.D.), which reboots the Neil Patrick Harris-starring half-hour medical dramedy with a female lead, comes from How I Met Your Mother and Fresh Off the Boat alumna Kourtney Kang and 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios.
Written by Kang and set in modern-day Hawaii, Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. follows Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha, a mixed race 16-year-old girl, juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. Guiding Lahela (and also complicating things) is her family, including her spit-fire Irish mother who’s also her supervisor at the hospital, and her Hawaiian “Local Boy” father struggling to accept that his daughter is no longer his little girl.
The lead character’s ethnicity reflects Hawaii-born Kang’s own background — she previously tapped into her experiences growing up in a mixed-race family in a comedy pilot for NBC. Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., which had been in development for Disney+ since early 2020, is slated to go into production later this year for a 2021 premiere on the streamer. I hear casting is underway for the lead and the other major roles, with an intention to shoot the show in Hawaii.
“Thirty years ago, a young medical prodigy took the world by storm and left a lasting impact on pop culture,” said Ricky Strauss, president, Content and Marketing, Disney+. “Kourtney and the team at 20th Television have created a very modern take on this beloved property which will resonate with our global Disney+ audience. We can’t wait to introduce the world to the new Doogie!”
The original series, which starred Harris as a teenage physician balancing the challenge of practicing medicine with the everyday problems of teenage life, was created by two of TV’s top showrunners of the past three decades, the late Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley, and produced by Steven Bochco Prods. and 20th Television predecessor 20th Century Fox TV.
Bochco’s widow, Dayna Bochco, and son, Jesse Bochco, serve as producers the reboot, executive produced by Kang, Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar. 20th Television, where Kasdan and his producing partner Mar are under a deal, is the studio.
“Doogie, Howser MD is beloved by everyone at our studio, so we knew that if we were going to reinvent it for a new generation, we had to have both the blessing and participation of the Bochcos and a creator with a fresh, new take that made us lean in,” said Carolyn Cassidy, president, 20th Television. “Kourtney’s vision for the character is so inspired, we’ve been dying to collaborate with Melvin and Jake again, and Disney+ is exactly the right home for this idea. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Running for four seasons on ABC from 1989 to 1993, Doogie Howser, M.D. catapulted Harris into television stardom and made the term “Doogie Howser” synonymous with kid geniuses.
Kang served as co-executive producer on ABC/20th TV’s Fresh Off the Boat, which Kasdan and Mar executive produced. Prior to that Kang was one of the key writer-producers on CBS/20th TV’ How I Met Your Mother, which also starred harris. She was on the popular ensemble comedy for its entire nine-season run, rising from a staff writer to executive producer. Currently, Kang also has drama The Golden Child in development at ABC.
The green light for Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. comes as Disney TV Studios’ The Mighty Ducks series reboot for Disney+ resumed production, with the studio group’s Turner & Hooch series for the streamer about to start filming.