“Schitt’s Creek” star Emily Hampshire has signed on to star as the title character in a new, updated version of Norman Lear’s 1970s syndicated hit “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”
Hampshire will also be an executive producer on the project, and co-write the script with Jacob Tierney (“Letterkenny”), who will serve as showrunner. Sony Pictures TV is planning to shop the show to buyers in the coming weeks.
It’s the latest series remake to come out of the Lear cannon, following the recent critically acclaimed reimagining of “One Day at a Time,” and an animated take on “Good Times” that is currently in the works. Lear and Brent Miller’s Act III Prods. is developing the new “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” with Sony, with Lear and Miller as executive producers alongside Hampshire and Tierney.
“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” reunites Hampshire with Tierney, as Hampshire previously starred in Tierney’s film “The Trotsky.” The duo also worked together on “Good Neighbours” and “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.”
The original “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” was a satire of soap operas and ran in daily first-run syndication, and earned a cult-like following for its take on the genre and on American media and consumer culture. It starred Louise Lasser, who earned an Emmy nomination as Mary Hartman, a small-town Ohio housewife who reacted to the bizarre goings on all around her. The cast also included Greg Mullavey, Dody Goodman, Norman Alden and Mary Kay Place.
The show ran for two seasons (and 325 episodes), and was created by Gail Parent, Ann Marcus, Jerry Adelman and Daniel Gregory Browne.
“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” also spawned the spinoff talk show satire “Fernwood 2 Night” (and later, “America 2-Night,” starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard.
Per Sony, the new version of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” gives a new spin to the characters of Fernwood, Ohio, and “is about a small-town woman who feels like a nobody in every aspect of her life until she suddenly becomes a ‘Verified’ social media somebody. We’re bringing the original show’s satirical look at consumer culture into today’s social media world, where ‘America’s Typical Consumer Housewife’ has now become the product consumed when her nervous breakdown goes viral.”
Hampshire played Stevie Budd for six seasons on the Emmy-winning comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” and also just wrapped shooting the Epix limited series “Chapelwaite” opposite Adrien Brody. Tierney is producer, writer and director of the critically acclaimed “Letterkenny,” which just released its ninth season in December. Besides “The Trotsky” and “Good Neighbours,” has also wrote and directed the features “Twist” and “Preggoland.”
As for Lear and Miller, their first-look overall deal is with Sony Pictures TV through ACT III Prods. They won two Primetime Emmys in 2019 and 2020 for “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” their specials with Jimmy Kimmel. They’re also behind the feature documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” which just premiered at last week’s Sundance Film Festival. And they produced Heidi Ewing’s “I Carry You With Me,” which opens May 21 in theaters through Sony Pictures Classics.
Hampshire is repped by Atlas Artists, Paradigm, Creative Drive Artists, K. L. Benzakein Talent and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson. Tierney is repped by ICM Partners and GGA.