Hoping to slip in there while everyone was still arguing over Say Anything—a hope Cameron Crowe subsequently dashed—ABC has ordered a TV series based on another beloved comedy from 1989, Uncle Buck. MADtv writers Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley are working on a “new spin” on John Hughes’ film, in which John Candy played a slovenly bachelor who’s tasked with looking after his brother’s kids and often getting unusually involved in their sex lives. The project will also be a “new spin” on doing an Uncle Buck TV show: CBS attempted its own version in 1990, which replaced Candy’s cigar-chomping Chicagoan take on the character with Kevin Meaney as a sort of cigar-chomping, fussily neurotic Southern belle who sometimes wears a Cubs hat.
However, ABC is clearly hoping that the passage of time will ease the comparisons with Candy, allowing producers to take greater creative liberties with the premise and come up with a fittingly contemporary take that honors the movie’s spirit. Or as Variety puts it, this—along with Say Anything, Big, Real Genius, and Problem Child—is “the surest sign that the TV biz is struggling to balance yearly development needs with the explosive growth of current series production.” Maybe the TV biz just needs a wacky uncle to help around the house.
Unlike Say Anything, Uncle Buck is expected to move forward, because both John Hughes and John Candy are dead.