In yet another example of Hollywood’s never-ending quest to squeeze every last drop out of any property with a following, Deadline reports that NBC is developing a sitcom based on the 1985 college comedy Real Genius.
For those unfamiliar with the film, Real Genius starred Val Kilmer as brilliant physics student Chris Knight, a senior at fictional California university Pacific Tech. An unscrupulous professor (legendary ’80s villain William Atherton) has Chris working on a secret laser project for the CIA, and soon pairs him with freshman student Mitch Taylor (Gabriel Jarrett).
When Chris and Mitch fail to get the laser operational in quick enough fashion, Professor Hathaway threatens to block the former from graduating. This leaves the mismatched duo to try and fix their prior mistakes, unaware that the government plans to use the laser as a weapon. In abstract, the plot sounds fairly serious, but it’s really not. This is a wacky mid-’80s comedy through and through, which many would consider to be part of its charm.
Real Genius received mostly positive marks from critics at the time, and made $13 million at the domestic box office. While exact budget figures for the film are unavailable, the project is still said to have been profitable for studio TriStar Pictures. In the decades since its initial release, Real Genius has amassed a respectable cult following, making it no real wonder why NBC wants to use its name to launch a new show.
The Real Genius TV series is being produced by Sony TV in conjunction with its Adam Sandler-owned subsidiary Happy Madison. Workaholics producers Craig DiGregorio and David King are penning the project, which seeks to translate the relationship between Chris and Mitch to a modern-day, workplace setting. 2014 Chris will be a hotshot tech genius, while 2014 Mitch will be his young, naive new co-worker.
While the notoriety of the Real Genius name is likely the main impetus for NBC wanting to create this series, another possible explanation could be the ongoing mega success of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, which very much operates as a workplace comedy during its scenes at the university and lab settings that most of the characters work in. Nerds and geeks are an asset on the small-screen these days, and NBC could very well be looking to steal some of that market away from CBS’ monolith.
The Real Genius series is in development, and has no current premiere date.
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