The show that taught 1980s kids not to hide in an abandoned old refrigerator — or, at the very least, learn CPR in case one of your friends does sneak into one of those scary old latch iceboxes — will not continue with its revival. The updated “Punky Brewster,” which Peacock brought back as part of the streamer’s first-year lineup, will not be renewed for more episodes.
Peacock debuted all 10 episodes of the new “Punky Brewster,” featuring original star Soleil Moon Frye (who also served as an executive producer), on Feb. 25. The show reunited Frye as Punky with her old friend Cherie (Cherie Johnson), and updated her story to focus on Punky raising her three kids after separating from her husband (Freddie Prinze Jr.). A photographer like her foster dad Henry in the original series, Punky brings a foster child, Izzy (Quinn Copeland), into her home.
“Punky Brewster” is the third series to last just a season on Peacock, following sci-fi drama “Brave New World,” which also wasn’t renewed after a single season, and the late night talk show “Wilmore,” which ended its run after a single cycle of 11 episodes.
“‘Punky Brewster’ was a beloved series that tackled meaningful storylines with so much heart,” said Lisa Katz, President, Scripted, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “It was a bright light for so many viewers and we are forever grateful to Universal Studio Group, the producers, the cast and crew and especially to Soleil Moon Frye for reigniting the Punky Power within everyone.”
Peacock’s other initial comedies have all been renewed: “Saved by the Bell,” “Rutherford Falls” and “Girls5eva.” (Peacock also has the original comedy “A.P. Bio,” returning for a fourth season; it originally aired on NBC.)
In her Variety review of “Punky Brewster,” Amber Dowling had mixed feelings about the show’s narrow storytelling but in the end wrote, “there’s plenty of original Punky charm to go around. Cynics may cringe at an adult woman boasting about her ‘Punky power’ years later, but Frye’s pure commitment to joy (not to mention physical comedy) is as infectious as ever.”
Noah Cottrell (Diego), Oliver De Los Santos (Daniel) and Lauren Lindsey Donzis (Hannah) also starred in the series, which came from both the UCP and Universal Television divisions of Universal Studio Group. Steve and Jim Armogida (“School of Rock,” “Grounded For Life”) wrote and executive produced the series, while original series creator David Duclon (“Punky Brewster,” “Family Matters,” “Silver Spoons”) and Emmy-winning producer Jimmy Fox (“The Arrangement,” “United Shades of America”) of Main Event Media were also EPs with Frye.
The original “Punky Brewster” ran for four seasons between 1984 and 1988 — two seasons on NBC, and two seasons in first-run syndication. It also spawned the animated series that was also titled “Punky Brewster” and featured the same cast — but then also a mischievous flying creature named Glomer who joined Punky on adventures. The 1980s were wild.