With Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters: Afterlife set to reunite fans with the original lore co-created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, it appears another one of Ramis and Bill Murray's iconic comedies is being tapped for a new project. Though details are fairly scarce this early on, Sony execs are reportedly looking to return to the world of Groundhog Day, only this time as a TV series instead of a feature.
With Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters: Afterlife set to...just kidding! No Groundhog Day repetition here, but I'm definitely intrigued by the possibility of the film's highly imitated narrative conceit being ported to TV. And it sounds like the film's co-star Stephen Tobolowsky is also interested in the project, since he's the one who broke the news. Here's what he revealed as a recent guest on The Production Meeting Podcast:
There’s talk about a Groundhog Day series in the works. I was working on The Goldbergs or Schooled, one of those shows over on the Sony lot, and one of [the producers] saw me and goes, 'Oh, Stephen! Stephen! We're working on a Groundhog Day TV show. Could you be Ned for the TV show?' I go, 'Sure. Yeah, no problem.'
All things considered, it would appear that the Groundhog Day TV show would be an extension of the film's world, where Stephen Tobolowsky portrayed the rather aggravating insurance agent Ned Ryerson. (A character that some have theorized is the actual string-puller behind Bill Murray's time loop as Phil Connors.) If Ned is back, that certainly leaves the door open for a return from Murray himself, even if the episodic project might not be wholly focused on Phil again. But could it happen?
Even the most basic instincts would have some believing that Bill Murray would automatically turn down a role in a Groundhog Day TV show, it's not the biggest impossibility. For one, the actor has appeared in more TV projects in the past 8 years than he did in his entire pre-2013 career. For another, Murray will be reprising the role of Peter Venkman for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which is something he'd been wholeheartedly against doing for many, many years.
Plus, let's not forget that Bill Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky already brought Phil and Ned back for TV for that Jeep commercial during Super Bowl LV earlier this year. Granted, a commercial is obviously a lighter workload than an entire TV series, but the fact that Murray seems to now be comfortable bringing his prized characters back can only be seen as a good sign.
After revealing the news about the Groundhog Day TV show, Stephen Tobolowsky openly wondered what his character Ned Ryerson would be up to now, nearly 30 years after the events of the movie. Perhaps he runs his own globally renowned insurance company. Or perhaps he owns Phil Connors' soul, and he's spend the past three decades taking control of other people's souls.
For what it's worth, Sony also brought the film's central gimmick back for the 2019 VR video game Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, which serves as a sequel centering on Phil Connors Jr. having his own repeat-the-day adventures. The game got decent reviews from critics and fans, which possibly gave Sony enough confidence to move forward with a live-action return to Groundhog Day.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on the Groundhog Day TV show and more. And for those who need to know what's coming to the small screen soon, our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule will clue you in on what the next few months have in store.