Fried Green Tomatoes is getting a television series adaptation at NBC with Reba McEntire set to star with Norman Lear on board to executive produce. Jennifer Cecil is also attached to exec produce and write the script. Along with Lear and Cecil, McEntire will also be serving as an exec producer. Additionally, the original novel’s writer Fannie Flagg and Lear’s Act III Productions producing partner Brent Miller are exec producing as well. Universal Television is the studio overseeing the project.
The Fried Green Tomatoes TV series is described as a modernization of the novel and 1991 movie adaptation, exploring the lives of the descendants of the characters from the source material. Per a provided synopsis, “when present-day Idgie Threadgoode (McEntire) returns to Whistle Stop after a decade away, she must wrestle with a changed town, estranged daughter, faltering cafe and life-changing secret.”
The original novel that inspired the movie and this new TV series, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, was written by Flagg and first published in 1987. It focuses on the friendship between middle-aged housewife Evelyn Couch and an elderly woman named Ninny Threadgoode, along with Ninny’s stories of her youth. The story also touches on themes of aging, racism, lesbianism, and family. A hit title, the book made The New York Times Best Seller List, where it remained for 36 consecutive weeks.
Based on the success of the book, Fried Green Tomatoes was made into a movie 1991. Flagg co-wrote the screenplay with Carol Sobieski with Jon Avnet as the director. Featuring a very similar story to the novel, the movie stars Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch, Mary Stuart Masterson as Idgie Threadgoode, Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode, Mary-Louise Parker as Ruth Jamison, Chris O’Donnell as Buddy Threadgoode, and Cicely Tyson as Sipsey. The movie managed to earn Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress for Tandy, and it was also a big hit at the box office.
Reba McEntire might be best known as one of country music’s most famous performers of all time. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl, McEntire has won three Grammys and dozens of other prestigious awards for her music career. She has also proven herself as an actress on the small screen by leading her own sitcom, Reba, for six seasons. The role even earned her a Golden Globe Award. McEntire has also been seen in other shows like Young Sheldon and Last Man Standing and has had voice roles in the animated movies Charlotte’s Web and Spies in Disguise.
The original Fried Green Tomatoes movie has a bit of a following as one of the most memorable movies of its type from the early ’90s. We’ll see if the small screen version manages to capture that same success, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone like McEntire involved. There’s no word yet on which other cast members might be features on the series, but some cameo appearances from the 1991 movie’s cast would certainly be fun. This news comes to us from Variety.