'Groundhog Day' TV Series in Development, According to Stephen Tobolowsky

OK campers, rise and shine: a Groundhog Day TV show is evidently in the works.

Actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Ned Ryerson in Harold Ramis’s 1993 time loop classic film, revealed in a new interview that a Groundhog Day series is in development. Not only that, but Tobolowsky has agreed to reprise the role of Ned Ryerson (AKA Needlenose Ned, AKA Ned the Head) should the series actually make it into production. Read his quotes below.

On the new episode of The Production Meeting Podcast (via ComingSoon), Tobolowsky – the famous character actor, author, and podcaster who has appeared in well over 250 films and TV shows – revealed the news about a potential Groundhog Day show.

“There’s talk about a Groundhog Day series in the works,” he said. “One of the producers – I was working on The Goldbergs or [the spin-off series] Schooled, one of those shows over on the Sony lot, and one of the producers saw me and goes, ‘Oh, Stephen! Stephen! We’re working on a Groundhog Day TV show. Could you be Ned for the TV show?’ I go, ‘Sure. Yeah. No problem.’…But it’s Ned thirty years later. What has his life become?”

It seems incredibly unlikely that Bill Murray, who starred in the movie version, would return to star in a Groundhog Day show. I could maybe see him making a cameo, if he likes the people involved behind the scenes. (By the way, we have no idea which producers are involved in this sequel series, who would be creating the show, writing it, showrunning it, etc.)

If Murray is not involved in a major capacity, that means a different character will get caught in a time loop instead…because a Groundhog Day series without the time loop premise just wouldn’t be Groundhog Day. Let’s go ahead and assume that Ned Ryerson won’t be the main character of the show, and that Punxsutawney is once again the center of a time vortex. Last year, a Groundhog Day sequel was released as a virtual reality game. It was called Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, and in it, Murray’s character’s son is the one who’s caught in a time loop. Might the series be taking that approach?

Meanwhile, what does Ned Ryerson’s life look like thirty years later? What kind of impact did that encounter with Phil Connors have on him and the rest of the people of Punxsutawney? I suspect we’ll find out. While the movie popularized the idea of living in the same day over and over again, this show will have to contend with the impact the movie has had on pop culture – it won’t be the only thing on the block to have that format. The upcoming Hulu movie Palm Springs features a similar concept, and Netflix’s Russian Doll brilliantly used that construct for its own storytelling, just to name a few. A Groundhog Day TV show has a higher bar to clear now than if it had come out immediately in the wake of the movie, so let’s hope whoever is behind this series is up to the task of clearing it.

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