That '70s Show Vet Topher Grace Set To Finally Return To Network TV For New Show

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From the late '90s through the mid-aughts, Topher Grace was at the forefront of Fox's popular sitcom That '70s Show, becoming the modern-day version of Ron Howard's Happy Days lead Richie Cunningham. The actor chose to vacate the role going into the series' eighth season (though he returned for the series finale) and since 2006, Grace has yet to return to network TV in an equally sizable role. Such distinctions could definitely change soon, though, as Grace has signed on for a new TV pilot called Home Economics.

Topher Grace is indeed meant to lead up the Home Economics pilot, and he'll also be doing some behind-the-scenes work as an executive producer, which was reportedly set up through a financially pleasing deal for the star. For the show, Grace will portray the character Tom, the middle child between a brother in the 1% of the country, money-wise, and a sister for whom money problems are second nature.

Tom is a novelist that is comfortable in his intellect, though book sales could be better. Though some of his books have done well, his latest release sunk, and while the ups and downs of the industry weren't always a major cause for concern, Tom is now the father of twins, so the lack of consistency starts to seriously stress him out. He hopes to attain a fraction of the success his brother has had, but Tom fears that he'll end up in a comparable situation to his more reckless sister.

On paper, Home Economics could be an effective drama just as much as it could be a comedy, so one can assume that tone is everything with a project like this. The project was created by Michael Colton and John Aboud, who worked together on Penguins of Madagascar, Childrens Hospital, Leverage and many more. Add to that work on projects like Zoolander: Super Model and Sit Down Shut Up, and it becomes a lot more obvious that these guys are probably big fans of weird and absurd humor.

Topher Grace has enjoyed a bit of weird and absurd humor throughout his career, which got extremely varied in the 14 years between That '70s Show ending and now. He immediately followed it with a trek into comic book infamy as Spider-Man 3's Venom, later starring in and co-writing the throwback comedy feature Take Me Home Tonight, and more recently winning over critics uncomfortably as David Duke in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman. He'll be seen in Jon Stewart's upcoming political comedy Irresistable, which releases on May 29, 2020 and co-stars Steve Carrell and Rose Byrne.

On the TV side of things, some of Topher Grace's post-'70s Show highlights include a Simpsons appearance, a spot as Drunk History's Milton Bradley, a starring role in the outbreak-tethered TV miniseries The Hot Zone, and an intriguing appearance in Black Mirror Season 5's installment "Smithereens." Grace also won a Daytime Emmy in 2013 for the category of Outstanding New Approaches – Original Daytime Program or Series for his work on the web series The Beauty Inside.

Thanks to syndication and streaming, That '70s Show is still a beloved sitcom by wide swaths of fans, and you just know if Home Economics makes it beyond the pilot stage, everyone will want to see Topher Grace's former co-stars popping by for mini-reunions. I mean, Ashton Kutcher is currently done with Netflix's The Ranch, which had its own '70s Show connections that took a downward turn. Laura Prepon is done with Netflix's Orange Is the New Black. Mila Kunis, meanwhile, has a pair of films coming in 2020, but nothing on the TV side. Wilder Valderrama is the standout there, with his regular role opposite Mark Harmon on TV's most-watched drama NCIS.

Fingers crossed that Home Economics lands the rest of its casting and is eventually high-quality enough to earn a series order from the network. In the meantime, stay tuned with everything that's coming to the small screen soon with our Winter and Spring TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.