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'Coach' returning as a short-run series on NBC

Craig T. Nelson will reprise his role as

Craig T. Nelson will reprise his role as Coach Hayden Fox for an NBC remake of the '90s series "Coach." Credit: AP

"Coach" -- one of those '90s network series that got a whole lot of audience love but not a whole lot of Emmy love back in the day — will return for a limited run on NBC, the network announced late Thursday. 

And yes — just to answer the question that you will immediately have: Craig T. Nelson, fresh off of "Parenthood," is reprising Coach Hayden Fox.

 No other casting announcements but Barry Kemp, who created and ran the series over nearly a decade (it landed on ABC's fall lineup in 1990) will come back to write the 13 episodes which NBC has committed to. 

This is a very interesting development, and part of a trend that has gripped the networks (see: "The X Files" reboot). Specifically in NBC's case, if you can't launch your own successful comedy, why not just remake one from the semi-golden age of network comedy?

"Coach" was in fact a very good show, and a sweet one, and a bit of a throwback itself. It had much more in common with a series like "My Three Sons," for example, than "Roseanne," which was its lead-in on Tuesday. Oh right, it had NOTHING in common with "Roseanne," which got all the attention and glory, although Nelson did win a deserved best actor Emmy in '92.  "Coach" was a traditionalist, and maybe NBC is sensing that tradition is the new flavor of the month.

Also, ABC — if memory serves — saw this series as complementary to "Monday Night Football," at least in spirit. A number of NFL players made cameos.

In any event, it is almost impossible to imagine this reboot without Jerry Van Dyke, who remains active (he was in "The Middle") or Shelley Fabares, who was Coach's love interest, and eventually his wife. 

And "Coach" without Bill Fagerbakke? Don't even bother, NBC. Fagerbakke -- "Dauber" -- is of course Patrick Star on "SpongeBob SquarePants." In other words, he doesn't need the extra paycheck.

 The NBC remake will pick up the story in present day. His adopted son, now grown and a coach himself for a college team, appoints his dad as assistant coach.

 No word on ETA, but let's assume 2016.

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