The Real Reason Fred Savage Was Fired From The Wonder Years Reboot

The 2010s and 2020s saw an unexpected television show trend: programs that had gone off the air years or even decades previously were brought back in the form of reboots. The success of these reboots was a mixed bag. For example, "Roseanne" was rebooted and even retitled to "The Conners" following the departure of its lead actress following offensive tweets but remains one of ABC's more popular shows (via TV Series Finale). By comparison, NBC's "Will & Grace" reboot only lasted a couple of seasons, and the "Mad About You" reboot barely lasted a season.

In 2021, ABC rebooted "The Wonder Years," which originally ran from 1988-1993 (per IMDb). The star of the show was Fred Savage (above), who portrayed the show's main character, Kevin Arnold, as he navigated adolescence against the backdrop that was the social upheaval of the 1960s and early 1970s. As Entertainment Weekly explains, the new version of the show focuses on a new family, this time a Black family living in the South at a time when Blacks living in the region faced extraordinary persecution and discrimination.

The original show's Fred Savage was involved in the reboot, not as an actor but as a producer. Unfortunately, ABC had to make a decision after allegations of misconduct surfaced, and he was fired from the show.

Sexual Harassment, Verbal Abuse

Allegations that Fred Savage behaved inappropriately on-set date back to at least when he was still in his teens, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Back in 1993, when Savage was only 16, women on the set of the original "The Wonder Years" accused him of various improprieties, resulting in at least one lawsuit. One woman who worked on Fox's "The Grinder" (2015-2016) complained that Savage had struck her during a costume fitting and "hurled profanities" at the women on set. The lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court. In 2015, Savage's behavior on "The Grinder" sparked another harassment lawsuit, also settled out of court (via Deadline).

Per The Hollywood Reporter, one woman said that Savage's relationships with women much younger than him (he was 46 and married with three children at the time) made her "uneasy." Another woman claimed that Savage would "belittle" her and verbally harass her. When 20th Television got wind of the allegations, they investigated and then made the decision to let him go. "Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage ... [Upon completion of our investigation] the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of 'The Wonder Years,'" the network said in a statement (via  Entertainment Weekly).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Savage's Response

Following his firing from "The Wonder Years" reboot, Fred Savage issued a statement in which he denied any wrongdoing. "Since I was 6 years old, I have worked on hundreds of sets with thousands of people, and have always strived to contribute to an inclusive, safe and supportive work environment. It is devastating to learn that there are co-workers who feel I have fallen short of these goals," he said (per NBC News). He went on to claim that some of the allegations did not and could not have happened and then promised to "work to address and change any behavior that has negatively affected anyone."

For now, Savage appears to be looking at a new career path that doesn't involve film and TV soundstages. As People reports, in August 2022, he announced that he was running for a seat on the city council of West Hollywood, California. "We need new leaders with a fresh perspective who are ready to begin tackling [the city's] issues," he said.