‘The Hooneymooners’: Reboot of Classic Jackie Gleason Series in the Works at CBS

by Victoria Santiago

CBS is pulling a TV classic from its sleeve. The network is reimagining Jackie Gleason’s 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners. The blue-collar original was created by and starred Gleason. The reboot is being written by Lindsey Shockley and directed by Kelly Park. So far, it’s been described as a “bold, female-driven reboot.” It’s centered around a newly married couple, Ruth and Alex. In the reboot, they’re trying to have an equal marriage, but undoubtedly butt heads every now and again. The reboot will focus on what happens to their marriage as they both try to act as the head of the household.

The original version of The Honeymooners followed a New York City man, Ralph Kramden, and his wife Alice. The show definitely jokes about their family dynamic, but the majority of episodes focus on get-rich-quick schemes carried out by Ralph and his friend, Ed Norton. Of course, the wives looked on tiredly. Perhaps one of the most iconic lines, Gleason’s character would respond to his wife by raising his fist and saying “To the moon, Alice, to the moon!”

Gleason Wanted Show Off-Air, But Also Wanted to Use Material

The show first aired on October 1st, 1955. It would only last a year on CBS before Gleason called it quits. He simply didn’t think there was enough material to make more seasons of the show. This was probably news to the network, as he had been signed to a three-year, $11 million contract. At the time, that was one of the biggest TV deals.

Even though Gleason didn’t think there was enough material for more seasons, he repurposed the concept for his own use. Undoubtedly, he thought there was some value and freshness with keeping it as part of his The Jackie Gleason Show. In addition to that, the popular show was added back into syndicate TV only a year after it went off-air. Even then, he still used it in his own show.

Gleason held on to The Honeymooners throughout his career. When The Jackie Gleason Show got canceled by CBS in 1970, he would occasionally dredge up the iconic sitcom for specials on ABC. In the 1980s, fans caught a glimpse of what didn’t make it on the screen. Gleason sold what was called “The Lost Episodes” of his classic comedy sketch. The show manages to stay relevant in the heart of fans, much in the same way that I Love Lucy does.

Now, over half a century later, we’ll get to revisit Gleason’s classic sitcom. Changes are a part of all reboots, but we imagine that the producers will do a great job with it. The producers and writers have worked on other wildly popular shows in the past, including Country Comfort, Grace & Frankie, and black-ish.