Grandpas Over Flowers gets remade for American TV
And evil genius Na PD continues on the path of global dominion. The concept for his highly successful and groundbreaking variety show Grandpas Over Flowers has become the first-ever Korean reality show exported to American broadcast TV. While CJ E&M, the media conglomerate that owns tvN and other cable channels, has sold shows to other countries (game show The Genius was sold to the Netherlands earlier this year, and the Chinese version of Grandpas Over Flowers aired just recently), Na PD’s unique brand of sadistic humor will finally reach U.S. audiences next fall, as NBC has bought the format and will remake it into a show titled Better Late Than Never.
The American version will have the same basic composition and will be about men in their twilight years, sent on an international trip with only a youthful luggage boy to assist them. Some of Hollywood’s top senior actors are being courted, and already my mind is spinning with the possibilities. (How awesome would it be to watch a variety show displaying the real-life bromance between Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart? Throw Larry David into the mix and I’d be in heaven. Is Seinfeld too old to be a luggage boy? Hmm, perhaps as one of the younger seniors, then. While I doubt any of them have the desire to appear on a reality show, a girl can dream!)
After hearing that it was the first time a Korean variety show had been optioned by an American broadcast company, Na PD said, “As the PD of the program, I’m really proud. I’m very thankful to the viewers who enjoyed and rooted for Grandpas Over Flowers.” He continued, “I think the fondness given to grandfatherly figures is universal.” He also indicated the remake would have a distinctly American flair: “The U.S. version will stress that there are many things one can accomplish, even in his/her twilight years. If you think about the term ‘bucket list’ being coined by Americans, the emphasis makes sense.”
I have mixed feelings about the news, because, while I’m elated for Na PD and the acknowledgment of his unmatched ability to inflict pain in an immensely entertaining, watchable way, I’m worried some of the distinctive humor from the original will be lost: The discomfort that stems from differences in age won’t translate well, as Americans tend to treat those who’ve come of age as equals. This doesn’t mean the remake won’t be enjoyable; I agree with Na PD that something about a group of grandpas embarking on a grand adventure together universally tugs at the heartstrings — I just expect it to have a different feel.
On a positive note, Better Late Than Never will be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who collaborated together on the movies The Bucket List, Hairspray, and Chicago, as well as the TV shows Drop Dead Diva and Smash, and I have hopes the veteran pair are serious about wanting the show to be a success. It has a target premiere date sometime in the latter half of 2015.
- Youths Over Flowers: Episode 1
- Na PD’s next travel variety spin-off Youth Over Flowers sets sail
- Chinese version of Grandpas Over Flowers gets green light
- Na PD on grandpas, money, and Seo-jinnie the con artist
- Noonas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- Grandpas spin-off named Noonas Over Flowers: Seung-gi-ya, Run Away
- KBS copycats Grandpas Over Flowers with grandma edition
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- Na PD launches new travel variety show on tvN