With so many networks, websites and streaming services currently producing original TV content, big trends getting harder to distinguish. But it's possible that ABC is going to spearhead the "live-action version of an animated TV series" movement, as the network is officially moving forward with the rumored adaptation of the futuristically classic 'toon The Jetsons. Someone tell George and Judy do NOT get Rosie from Westworld's Delos Incorporated.
TV viewers aren't guaranteed to meet George's boy Elroy and the rest in the future, but ABC granted the project a put pilot commitment, which would result in ABC facing a financially stiff penalty if nothing happens. Generally, this is the last big decision network execs make before eventually putting in a series order (or facing said fine), so we're optimistic that we'll be seeing Disney-branded Spacely Sprockets attire getting promoted by next year. Especially since the sci-fi-familiar filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, helmer of the Back to the Future franchise and Contact, is attached as executive producer.
Thankfully, the pitch behind this updated take on The Jetsons isn't going to be a world-weary look at the darker undertones of the franchise -- in the vein of Riverdale's take on Archie Comics -- and sounds like it will attempt to adhere to the original's tone, as it'll be a half-hour comedy in the multi-cam format, meaning a live audience will be involved. While not the most complicated logline, Warner Bros. TV confirms The Jetsons will be a sitcom set 100 years in the future, where this gadget-friendly family will be viewed through a "modern filter." I love seeing the future depicted in weird ways for TV shows, and The Jetsons could offer some truly wild predictions for where things will be in 2118.
The Jetsons live-action sitcom is being scripted by Gary Janetti, who is also set to executive produce. Janetti served as a writer and producer on Will & Grace's first run on NBC, and he also had those same roles on Family Guy, so he clearly knows his way around both the animated and live-action worlds. And clearly the pressure will be on, considering how universally known and beloved this property is.
No word on whether this new Jetsons project will play into the previously announced cinematic universe that animation giant Hanna-Barbera had planned. It likely won't, assuming that plan is still in the cards, but it would be pretty wild if that film-and-TV-verse managed to loop in all kinds of crossovers that Marvel's TV and film side haven't worked out all that often.
Just last year, Judy Jetson's voice actress Janet Waldo passed away, so here's hoping she would have been a fan of whatever ends up happening with The Jetsons. While waiting to hear from from ABC and WB TV about the project, head to our summer premiere schedule and our fall TV guide to see everything heading to primetime soon.