The list of popular TV shows from the past being brought back from the dead is about to get longer by one as Punky Brewster is getting a sequel series, and original series star Soleil Moon Frye is returning to star once again.
Per a Deadline report, Universal Content Productions is developing the project and will succeed the original Punky Brewster, which was canceled more than 30 years ago. The first show starred Frye as a young girl living with her foster father (played by George Gaynes). For the new series, in the tradition of Fuller House, Punky is “a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self.”
Frye and original series creator David Duclon will serve as executive producers, while Steve and Jim Armogida, who wrote for the Nickelodeon version of School of Rock, will write the script. The idea seems to be to update the story for a later generation just like Fuller House and Girl Meets World.
Frye was around 10 when the show first aired, and she is now 42. As an adult, she has acted in Sabrina the Teenage Witch and done a lot of voice work, while also hosting an OWN series called Home Made Simple. Frye also wrote a 2011 memoir called Happy Chaos: From Punky to Parenting and My Perfectly Imperfect Adventures in Between.
The original show ran for two seasons on NBC between 1984 and 1986, with a third season airing in syndication between 1987 and 1988. There was also a cartoon spinoff called It’s Punky Brewster, which aired for a single season in 1986.
George Gaynes, who played the foster father on the show, passed away in 2016.
Per a Mental Floss article from 2011, there was a real-life Punky Brewster. Brandon Tartikoff, the president of NBC in the 1980s, had a crush on a tomboyish girl of that name when he was young. The woman, Peyton Rutledge, was ultimately tracked down and even agreed to appear on an episode of the Punky Brewster TV series as a teacher. Punky’s dog, Brandon, was named after Tartikoff as well.
The news of the series reboot has been greeted mostly positively. However, some, including online publication Jezebel, asked why one is necessary, specifically mentioning the bizarre episode in which a friend of Punky’s played hide-and-seek in an outdoor refrigerator and appeared to nearly die.