Fred Savage, the star of hit 1980s sitcom The Wonder Years, has been dismissed from his role as director and executive producer of the rebooted series by 20th Television after allegations of ‘inappropriate conduct’.
Savage, 45, starred as loveable Kevin Arnold in six seasons of the original series on ABC, and he was a key component of the reboot, which this time focused on the lives of a black family, the Williams, in Montgomery, Alabama, in the racially troubled times of the 1960s.
Savage was executive producer on the first season when it returned to ABC in 2021 and directed eight episodes and the pilot.
According to Deadline, however, after investigations into complaints from a member of the cast and crew by 20th Television (part of Disney Television Studios), Savage was dismissed from the production, which has not yet been renewed for a second season.
A spokesman said in a statement: “Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years.”
Precise details of the allegations have not been released, but Deadline understands the complaints related to ‘verbal outbursts and inappropriate behaviour’.
Savage has had a successful career in front of and behind the camera since the original The Wonder Years series. He starred alongside Rob Lowe in comedy-drama series The Grinder in 2016 and has had recurring roles in The Conners, American Dad! and Friends from College. He also has a flourishing career as a director, working on the likes of Modern Family, The Conners and Black-ish in the past decade.
It's not the first time allegations of misconduct have dogged him. He faced allegations of harassment and intimidation from a crew member on The Grinder, but the complaints were dismissed after an investigation by 20th Television.
Meanwhile, the final series of the original The Wonder Years was upset by an allegation of sexual harassment against Savage by a crew member, which actress Alley Mills, who played his mother, dismissed as ‘ridiculous’.
She said at the time that Savage “is the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the earth… So I just thought it was a big joke and it was going to blow over.”
Savage has not yet commented on the dismissal.
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.