The 1980 Alan Parker MGM musical film already spawned a television series and spin-off, a stage musical, a reality TV competition series, and a 2009 film. But MGM apparently isn’t through with “Fame” yet.
The studio’s TV arm is now teaming up with the Lifetime TV network, as well as Josh Safran (“Smash,” “Gossip Girl”) and Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” executive producer), to launch a scripted series based on the original film, and previous TV series.
The producers are calling it a re-imagining of the first film and TV series. Here’s how they briefly describe this reboot: “Set against the backdrop of today’s unprecedented access to the world of celebrity, it will expose the gritty struggle, heartache and pain endured in the search for stardom.”
No confirmation on whether it’ll include a mix of drama and music, like the original; although I expect that it will, especially given who’s involved behind the camera.
Still in early development, the series will eventually find a home on Lifetime – a network that seems to be in the middle of a rebranding effort itself, given its recent involvement in what I’d say is atypical Lifetime material, venturing into more serious-minded, star-heavy terrain, like the upcoming Viola Davis/Jennifer Lopez revenge thriller “Lila & Eve,” and also picking up the Nicole Kidman “Grace of Monaco” film, skipping the theaters entirely and airing on Lifetime earlier this year.
And MGM, like other studios (Disney immediately comes to mind) continues to mine its existing and deep library for remakes. You’ll recall the recent “RoboCop” and “Carrie” reboots, with remakes of “Poltergeist,” “WarGames,” “Death Wish,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “The Magnificent Seven,” a 3rd “Barbershop” movie, and others, all currently in development.
Serving as executive producers on the upcoming “Fame” serial reboot will be Nigel Lythgoe Productions president Kary McHoul, Lythgoe himself, Segars Media’s Charles Segars and Chad Gutstein.
The popularity of the first TV series, in the early 1980s, led to several hit records and live concert tours by the cast. It ran for 6 seasons, won a number of Emmy awards. Of note, Debbie Allen, who had a small role in the original 1980 film, but played a major character in the TV series that followed, was nominated for Emmys in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, 4 years in a row; but she never won.
She was also nominated several times for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, which she won twice, and won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical.
No word on whether Allen will be involved in this reboot.
Might we see “re-imagined” versions of Coco (Irene Cara), Leroy (Gene Anthony Ray), and all the other notables?
The Hollywood Reporter was first to report the news of Lifetime’s pick-up.
Here’s a flashback…