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ABC sets 'Wonder Years' reboot with Black cast

Original "Wonder Years" cast members Olivia d'Abo, left,

Original "Wonder Years" cast members Olivia d'Abo, left, Jason Hervey, Fred Savage, Josh Saviano (in glasses), Alley Mills and Dan Lauria. Credit: Everett Collection / New World Television

ABC has ordered a pilot script for an African-American reboot of its classic seriocomedy "The Wonder Years," with Long Island-raised original series co-creator Neal Marlens as a consultant.

The potential new series follows a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the turbulent 1960s, the same era in which the network's original "Wonder Years" (1988-93) was set.

ABC commissioned a half-hour pilot script from writer-producer Saladin K. Patterson, with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Lee Daniels and director and original series star Fred Savage as executive producers alongside Patterson and Marc Velez. Upon script approval, a 20th Century Fox Television pilot would begin production.

"One of my favorite biblical quotes is from the book of Esther and ends with, '...for such a time as this.' I feel very blessed to be a part of this project right now," Patterson, whose credits stretch from "Frasier" to this year's FX comedy "Dave," wrote on social media. Marlens has not commented publicly.

The original series starred Fred Savage as suburban youngster Kevin Arnold, with Daniel Stern narrating as the character's adult self reflecting on his childhood. Dan Lauria and Alley Mills starred as his parents, Jason Hervey and Olivia d'Abo as his older siblings, Josh Saviano as his best friend and Danica McKellar as his girl-next-door crush. The show won four Emmy Awards, including for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1988.

Created by the husband-and-wife team of Marlens and Carol Black, "The Wonder Years" was set in an unspecified locale based on Marlens' childhood home of Huntington, with the name "Kevin Arnold" an amalgam of the writer's friends Kevin Gliwa and Paul Arnold. Marlens attended Stimson Junior High (now Middle School) and Walt Whitman High School, both in Huntington Station.

His late mother, Hanna, was a school psychologist with the West Islip School District for 34 years. His late father, Al, was the managing editor of Newsday before becoming a senior editor at Time magazine, and then editor of The New York Times' Week in Review section.

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