It’s a very happy birthday for TV legend Norman Lear, who gets to celebrate with a bonus present: The new take on Lear’s syndicated 1970s series “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” has landed in script development at TBS.
As reported in February, “Schitt’s Creek” star Emily Hampshire is developing a fresh version of “Mary Hartman,” along with Jacob Tierney (“Letterkenny”). After being shopped by Sony Pictures TV to buyers this spring, the project has landed at TBS. The news comes as Lear, who was born in 1922, celebrates his 99th birthday.
“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 in a statement. “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!”
Hampshire will star as the title character in the remake and also serve as an executive producer on the project. She’s also set to co-write the script with Tierney, who will serve as showrunner. Lear and Brent Miller’s Act III Prods. is developing the new “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” with Sony, and Lear and Miller will serve as executive producers alongside Hampshire and Tierney.
The original “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” was a satire of soap operas and ran in daily for two seasons in first-run syndication, and earned a cult-like following for its take on the genre and on American media and consumer culture. It starred Louise Lasser, who earned an Emmy nomination as Mary Hartman, a small-town Ohio housewife who reacted to the bizarre goings on all around her. The cast also included Greg Mullavey, Dody Goodman, Norman Alden and Mary Kay Place.
For the update, the logline notes that the new “‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’ is about a small-town woman 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.”
Hampshire played Stevie Budd for six seasons on the Emmy-winning comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” and also stars in the Epix limited series “Chapelwaite” opposite Adrien Brody. (“Chapelwaite” premieres Aug. 22 on Epix.) Tierney is producer, writer and director of the critically acclaimed “Letterkenny,” which released its ninth season in December, and has two more seasons in the can. Besides “The Trotsky” and “Good Neighbours,” has also wrote and directed the features “Twist” and “Preggoland.”
As for Lear and Miller, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” is the latest series remake to come out of the Lear cannon, following the recent critically acclaimed reimagining of “One Day at a Time,” and an animated take on “Good Times” that is currently in the works.
“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” was originally created by Gail Parent, Ann Marcus, Jerry Adelman and Daniel Gregory Browne. “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” also spawned the spinoff talk show satire “Fernwood 2 Night” (and later, “America 2-Night,” starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard).