What The Wonder Years’ Studio And Fred Savage Have Said About His Firing Stemming From Accusations Of Misbehavior With Young Crew Members

ABC’s The Wonder Years reboot amassed relatively solid buzz during its first season on the air and managed to earn itself a second-season renewal from the network as a result. However, the show will be moving forward without one key figure, series director and EP Fred Savage, who was fired after a misconduct investigation a few months ago. Since then, more alleged details on Savage’s dismissal have come to light, including Savage’s purported misbehavior with younger crew members. Amid the situation, both he and the studio behind the dramedy have made statements on the matter.

What 20th Television Has Said In Regard To Fred Savage’s Dismissal

News of Fred Savage’s firing was reported back in May, during which it was said that the star was facing three separate allegations. It was also said that the star, who played the lead on the OG Wonder Years show, was cooperating with the proceedings. 20th Television, which produces the series, didn’t provide any specifics on the alleged incidents at the time, though the entertainment entity’s statement (shared with THR and other news outlets) suggested that the findings were enough to have Savage removed from the production: 

Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years.

The additional alleged details on the behind-the-scenes situation were reported earlier this week. And with that, the Kevin Arnold actor did provide a statement in response to the accusations.

How Fred Savage Responded To The Multiple Accusations He’s Facing

THR released a lengthy report that details allegations from multiple individuals. Per the trade, a group of six women came together on set, with the goal of taking action against Fred Savage. The women, who did not identify themselves, accused Savage of being cordial and friendly around the show’s stars and network execs but being less accommodating when it came to “below-the-line employees who don’t have power.” Accusations of verbal abuse were part of these allegations.

The women also made note of an alleged relationship that the former director had formed with a younger female crewmember on set, adding that the woman’s personality was negatively affected by her interactions with the TV vet. Another woman also claimed that Fred Savage followed her into a restroom and physically subdued her before "forcefully" putting his mouth on hers.  In conjunction with the story, Savage released a statement in which he addressed the claims and stated that he’s currently working on himself:

Since I was 6 years old, I have worked on hundreds of sets with thousands of people, and have always strived to contribute to an inclusive, safe and supportive work environment. It is devastating to learn that there are co-workers who feel I have fallen short of these goals. While there are some incidents being reported that absolutely did not and could not have happened, any one person who feels hurt or offended by my actions is one person too many. I will work to address and change any behavior that has negatively affected anyone, as nothing in this world is more important to me than being a supportive co-worker, friend, husband, father and person.

Fred Savage’s involvement in the Wonder Years reboot was reported in the summer of 2020. The actor was reportedly instrumental in getting the show off the ground alongside series creator Saladin K. Patterson and EP Lee Daniels. The star was even on hand to welcome the series lead, Elisha “EJ” Williams, to the show. Savage would ultimately direct seven episodes during the first season, including the pilot.

This new iteration of The Wonder Years takes place in the late ‘60s and focuses on the Williams’, a Black family living in Montgomery, Alabama. The central character is 12-year-old Dean, who like Kevin Arnold before him, is experiencing the ups and downs that come with adolescence. The show notably stars Dulé Hill, who plays family patriarch Bill. Hill has been vocal about how OG fans have warmed up to the show after initially being skeptical. There’s not much connective tissue between the shows narrative-wise, though it did feature a major Winnie Cooper connection

The coming-of-age period piece is set to return to ABC for its second season in 2023 as a midseason addition. What lies ahead for Fred Savage, meanwhile, is tough to say, but it seems clear that he will no longer be involved with the show. 

The first season of The Wonder Years is available to stream with a Hulu subscription.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.