In comedy, timing is everything. Television’s comedy great Norman Lear once again proved that his timing is impeccable, with a development deal for a Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman remake at TBS headlined by Schitt’s Creek‘s Emily Hampshire closing as he is celebrating his 99th birthday today.
“The kick of kicks as I turn 99 today is learning that TBS is developing MHMH and will allow us to make a new version of it starring Emily Hampshire,” Lear said. “As someone who believes his 99 years on this planet is owed to the amount of laughter he enjoyed through the years, here’s to the next 99. Bless you all!”
The new take on Lear’s acclaimed 1970s series hails from Schitt’s Creek co-star Hampshire, who will co-write, executive produce and star as the title character Mary Hartman; Letterkenny creator Jacob Tierney, who will co-write with Hampshire and executive produce; as well as Lear and Brent Miller, executive producing via Act III Productions. Tierney will serve as showrunner of the series, which is produced by Sony Pictures Television. That project had been in internal development at the studio since February before it was taken taken out and landed at TBS with a script development deal.
The updated Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is about a small-town woman (Hampshire) who feels like a nobody in every aspect of her life until she suddenly becomes a “Verified” social media somebody after her nervous breakdown goes viral.
Often referred to as one of the top cult classic TV shows of all time, the original Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which aired in daily weeknight syndication from January 1976-July 1977, was a groundbreaking send-up of the soap opera format and a subversive satire of America’s media/consumer culture. The series followed Mary Hartman, played by Louise Lasser, who earned an Emmy nomination for her performance, through increasingly complex and compounding life events and scenarios often reflective of the changing social fabric of America in the 1970s. The new version brings a modern twist to the original characters and the fictitious small town of Fernwood, OH.
Hampshire is coming off a six-year run as fan-favorite Stevie Budd on Schitt’s Creek, which swept the 2020 Emmy TV comedy categories. The sixth and final season of Schitt’s Creek was released on Netflix last October and was just named the No. 6 most-streamed series of all of 2020. Hampshire shared in a SAG Award alongside her castmates in the Comedy Series Ensemble category. Hampshire will be seen in the Epix miniseries Chapelwaite opposite Adrien Brody, based on the Stephen King short story Jerusalem’s Lot.
Tierney is the award-winning producer, writer and director of the Crave/Hulu series Letterkenny, which just released its ninth season in December and is among the top-performing comedies across all streaming platforms. Tierney also has written and directed the features Twist, The Trotsky, Preggoland and the indie hit Good Neighbours.
This is latest title from the Lear catalog the TV icon and his producing partner Miller are tackling under their company Act III Productions’ first-look overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. In addition to the acclaimed reimagining of One Day at a Time, Act III has the Emmy-winning Live in Front of a Studio Audience series of specials with Jimmy Kimmel, which stage live episodes of classic Lear sitcoms. Additionally, an animated version of Good Times was ordered by Netflix.