TV show reboot: Keegan-Michael Key and Steven Levitan on reboots and remakes

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Keegan Michael Key has learned to keep some names to himself.

The actor knows that if he takes too much liberty in telling stories to the writers of his new series Reloadthere’s a good chance it’ll make it into the script.


Created by sitcom king Stephen Levitan. Reload it’s a TV show about a TV show. The action takes place behind the scenes of the rebooted sitcom, which means that the storylines, scripts, characters and dialogue are based on the experience of everyone in the industry.

Key said it makes what you see on screen “very authentic,” even if it means he’s deliberately hiding names now. “I’ll just go, okay, here’s a story about someone I might know,” he told

“I explained this show as a very funny documentary. Sometimes I read the script and think, “Oh my God, who is this supposed to be, I was telling a story last week, is this the person I was talking about?”

It stars Key, Paul Reiser, Judy Greer, Rachel Bloom and Johnny Knoxville. Reload reunites the cast of a cheesy early 2000s sitcom who are primarily motivated to return for the money, but it’s sweetened with an updated vision from a writer who wants to reboot the series in a different direction.


Through ReloadLevitan, who created just shoot me as well as modern familywanted to explore how the industry and audience expectations have changed over the 30+ years he has been in television.

modern family was, at least for me, a way to explore my family life and family life in general,” he said. “It’s a way for me to immerse myself in my work life.

“I have seen so much in the last 30 years. I know the TV comedy business very well. I felt that after all these years and having seen so many huge changes, it was time to look back at it all.

“My mission from the beginning was to make it as authentic as possible.” There is no excuse that it doesn’t feel real. So, no shortcuts, let’s not be lazy. Let’s do it the way it’s done, so that other writers, directors, people on the crew watch this show and think, “Yeah, that’s how it works.”


As the entertainment industry is obsessed with taking something people already love and resubmitting it, one of those four P-words—reboot, remake, revival, and reinvention—is about as common as seagulls near discarded hot chips.

Levitan and Key thought a lot about what makes a reboot good and whether it’s worth doing.

“If I really liked the show, then I would like it to be the way it was,” said Levitan. “I love the fact that it was from its time, that’s what gives it some of its charm. But maybe if there was a show that I thought could be good, but it wasn’t.”

Quoted Key Bel Airdramatic remake The Prince of Beverly Hillsas well as Smallvillelike two shows he admired.

“Reimagining is a sub-genre of reboots, and that’s what resonates with me. When reboots live in this space, they work better because a new angle can take you pretty far,” Key explained.


Levitan called 21 Jump Street movies are great examples of getting it right.

“They took this concept and played with it in such a smart, tricky and fun way,” Levitan said. “This is how you do a reboot. It should be creatively driven, not “well, we can use some money.”

If Levitan could remake or repeat any of his performances, it would be Greg Rabbitan underrated series that was canceled after one season but lives on in the hearts of the loyal fans who discovered it in the mid-2000s.

It starred Seth Green, Sarah Silverman and Eugene Levy and existed in a world where the dolls were real, a la dollsand followed the story of a rabbit who was the star of his own TV show.

It’s hard to imagine how Greg Rabbit will live today in a very different streaming landscape from what it was then, or from when Levitan first started writing on To your health spin off Wings in 1991.


Would Greg Rabbit found a large audience on streaming, where strange titles sometimes achieve great success, and can be strategically targeted to a receptive audience? Or would it disappear even faster in the pantheon of peak TV?

The financial models for TV success have changed dramatically over the course of Levitan’s career, with seasons getting shorter and people watching at their own pace. And the very shows are going through their second season, the ones that stretch to modern family11 seasons or even just shoot meseven parts – unicorns.

“It’s difficult, the bar has been raised, this is a completely different matter,” Levitan said. “All I know is that all I can control with any change in this business is what happens on the screen. To be convincing and funny. And I have to hope that this means that the audience is still there.

“I definitely recognize that people’s attention spans are shrinking and they have a lot more choices than ever before.

“And the streaming model, part of which says, ‘Well, it’s not bringing in new subscribers anymore, so even if it has an audience, we still have to cancel it’ – I haven’t bitten it yet. I don’t quite understand what kind of bar it will be, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

“But the defense of this is to try and make the show as edgy and funny and smart as possible.”

Reboot is now streaming on Disney+

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