ABC has issued a pilot order for The Greatest American Hero reboot with a gender-swapped twist. The lead character is a 30-year-old Indian-American woman named Meera. The project hails from both 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios, and marks the first TV project to get the green light since the Disney Fox merger was announced last month. While they are currently separate entities, both 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios are expected to be merged when this massive deal is finalized in 2019.
This female reboot was first announced back in September, when ABC issued a put pilot commitment for the project. A put pilot order is often a strong indication that the pilot will be picked up to series, but that isn't always the case, including one instance where it was a previous incarnation of this very show. 20th Century Fox Television has tried to bring this series back to life twice in the past four years, once in 2014 with writer Rodney Rothman (Jump Street franchise) and again in 2015 with Rick Famuyiwa (Dope). The Rodney Rothman project was set up as a put pilot while the Rick Famuyiwa project was given a pilot production commitment, although neither of them even went to pilot.
Both of those earlier projects were being set up at the Fox network, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller serving as executive producers, but this incarnation brings the show back to ABC. The original Greatest American Hero debuted in the spring of 1984 and ran for three seasons spanning 44 episodes. The show followed a teacher named Ralph Hinkley (William Katt), who is tasked with becoming a hero by using an alien suit he barely knows how to control. The superhero series also starred Robert Culp as Bill Maxwell, an FBI agent and Connie Sellecca as Pam Davidson, a lawyer, and Michael Pare as Tony Villicana, a student in Hinkley's special education class.
This new series will follow another unlikely hero, a 30-year-old Indian-American woman named Meera. A lover of both tequila and karaoke, she has spent the majority of her life searching for meaning and purpose, failing miserably, while becoming the dark horse of her traditional Indian-American family. Much like Ralph Hinkley, Meera is entrusted with a "super suit" to become the planet's greatest hero, and while Meera has finally found herself a purpose, the world has just been entrusted to the most unreliable of hands. No details on supporting characters have been given at this time, and it remains unclear if this version of the "super suit" will come from aliens, or from somewhere else.
Rachna Fruchbom will write the pilot script for Greatest American Hero, while executive producing with Fresh Off the Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan, who will also serve as executive producer. Also serving as executive producers are Mandy Summers and Tawnia McKiernan, the latter of which is the daughter of original Greatest American Hero creator Stephen J. Cannell, who is now a veteran TV director. Fruchbom used to write for NBC's Parks and Recreation before moving over to ABC's Fresh Off the Boat. This is just the latest of many TV revivals to move forward, and there have been rumors that the Disney/Fox merger could also make a Firefly revival a possibility, but that has yet to be confirmed. Deadline broke the news on the pilot order for The Greatest American Hero reboot.