May 1, 2021

Sequel to "The Flintstones" to be Called "Bedrock" Coming Soon

Many  recall the original Hanna-Barbera animated TV show known as "The Flintstones". One element which made "The Flintstones" so unique (at the time) was that it was the first-ever animated series to hold a prime-time slot on broadcast television. "The Flintstones" also proved to be the most financially successful and longest-running animated show on network TV for more than three decades, until "The Simpsons" which debuted in 1989 and eventually outlasted "The Flintstones". "The Flintstones" was also one of the most successful cartoons to run in syndication.

The short description of "The Flintstones" is that it was about the misadventures of two modern-day Stone Age families, the Flintstones and the Rubbles. "The Flintstones" originally ran for six seasons and over 150 episodes on ABC between 1960 and 1966. The series followed the misadventures of the titular modern Stone Age family, comprised of Fred, Wilma, Pebbles, and family pet Dino. The show also heavily featured the Flintstones’ neighbors, the Rubbles — Fred’s best friend Barney, Wilma’s best friend Betty, and their son, Bamm-Bamm.

In fact, the show had basically the same plot as several successful TV sitcoms which preceded it, including "The Honeymooners" which ran from 1955 to 1956, except that it was animated and set in the stone age. But it was about two couples, the wives were friends by virtue of them being neighbors, and the husbands both worked in working-class, blue-collar professions typical of many ordinary Americans at the time the show aired, and the couples eventually started families at the same time, too.

According to the entertainment industry news outlet Variety (see for the original article), a sequel series to "The Flintstones" is now planned and set to begin production. Animation is officially in development at Fox with Elizabeth Banks attached to star and executive produce the new show. The project will be written and co-executive produced by Lindsay Kerns, and Max Handelman will executive produce via Ms. Banks' Brownstone Productions, with the company's Dannah Shinder co-executive producing. Warner Bros. Animation and Fox Entertainment will produce the show. Brownstone is currently under a TV overall deal at Warner Bros. The new animated series, to be titled "Bedrock," is supposedly set some 20 years after the events of the original series. Elizabeth Banks will voice an adult Pebbles Flintstone in addition to executive producing the new animated show. 

Variety reported "In the show, Fred Flintstone is on the brink of retirement and 20-something Pebbles is embarking on her own career. As the Stone Age gives way to a shiny and enlightened new Bronze Age, the residents of Bedrock will find this evolution harder than a swing from Bamm-Bamm's club."

In fact, the timing of "Bedrock" being set 20 years from the original series does take some creative license. The reason is because the final first-run episode of the original series known as "The Flintstones" aired more then 55 years ago (as of 2021), which means that Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble should have retired long ago. In fact, all of the original vocal talents of the original show passed away more than a few years ago. Perhaps the most famous of the vocal talent on "The Flintstones" was Mel Blanc, who died in 1989 (he voiced the character of Barney Rubble on "The Flintstones," although he had a long history in animation, including for the original cast of Bugs Bunny of "Looney Tunes" fame which preceded "The Flintstones"). Mr. Blanc died in 1989 and was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The epitaph on his headstone reads "That's all, folks!" (which was the tag line of every one of his Warner Brothers cartoons) with a subheading of "Man of 1000 Voices".

While original episodes of "The Flintstones" ended more than a half-century ago, for years after the show's original run ended, there were more than a dozen spinoffs of "The Flintstones" under the production company Hanna-Barbera (14 in total), which even included one called "The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show" which ran as a first-run, Saturday morning show on CBS from 1971-1972 and followed the characters of Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble as they faced problems growing up in the boring little town of Bedrock. No longer toddlers, the two were supposedly then teenagers in 1972 attending Bedrock High School and also getting their first jobs.

As noted, that means in theory, the lead characters of "The Flintstones" should arguably have retired years ago (presuming retirement ages generally accepted in the U.S.). But stranger and more creative things have been done in television shows.

Since the deaths of the legendary animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (Hanna died in 2001, and Barbera died in 2006), a company which remained active (at least as consultants) until 2001, although I believe the archived productions of the successful cartoon shop are currently now officially in the hands of Warner Brothers as the owners. Ms. Banks was originally in discussions to produce a new series called "Bedrock" at WB Animation in 2019, but no network for the show had been identified to carry the show at the time.

Since then, the options to get shows to audiences have expanded well beyond the original broadcast networks and cable to include a steadily-growing number of viable streaming outlets. Now, the latest news is that "Bedrock" is officially in development at Fox, not Warner Brothers, although Banks is under contract with Warner Brothers, so its officially being produced by both entertainment companies. The presence of so many new streaming outlets practically guarantees there will be some type of audience for the new show because the traditional network gatekeepers now have far less control to kill a project as the traditional broadcast and cable networks once did. That said, the underlying economics for many streaming outlets is different, which also impacts the outcome of success and the ability to produce a new show.

Variety reports that Fox Entertainment's free streaming platform Tubi has acquired the AVOD (the acronym for Advertising Video on Demand) rights to all six seasons of the original series "The Flintstones," which will begin streaming on the Tubi platform starting May 1, 2021. That also increases the odds that "Bedrock" could ultimately find a home on that particular streaming outlet, although the producers do have a right to shop the property around to see if they can find outlets willing to broadcast (and pay for it) it to a much wider audience. Tubi has not seen quite as much original content as rivals, but is functionally similar to the Viacom CBS Pluto TV streaming outlet, mainly for Fox entertainment properties and some licensed content. Among Tubi's licensed content includes Total TeleVision productions' (and that WAS the way it was written), which is currently owned by DreamWorks Classics, but was responsible for such sixties cartoons (produced on behalf of General Mills cereals) such as Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, Klondike Kat and Commander McBragg, among others, all of which ran heavily in syndication during the seventies since TV stations needed kid-friendly content to run in the early mornings and after school). So far, Fox has not yet been able to capitalize on its Tubi platform (plus it has little name-recognition), and its possible that having a high-profile recognized entertainment property such as "The Flintstones" and a reboot called "Bedrock" could help Fox's struggling free streaming platform attract audiences. Currently, Tubi has access to some of Total Television's cartoon properties such as "Underdog," but isn't really seen as a go-to destination for most streaming viewers, whereas Pluto TV and NBC Universal's Peacock TV have much more name-recognition ... and viewership.

As the guys in the following YouTube video rightly observe (or visit at, "Bedrock" could still end up being a trainwreck, but its got some credible talent working on it, plus the basis for the show is unique enough and credible enough that it has potential to work.

The good news is we shall soon see a new animated series starring the cast of "The Flintstones" (except that new vocal talent had to be found since all of the original vocal talent have died). Its in production now. If I had to guess, I'd say the odds are good that we may see "Bedrock" on the Tubi streaming outlet unless they can find a more deep-pocketed media outlet to pick the show up.

Author P.S., July 17, 2024: TV Line reported that the animated sequel series to Hanna-Barbera's successful prime-time cartoon series from the 1960's known as "The Flintstones" which was to be called "Bedrock" is no longer in development at Fox, although Fox is reportedly open to redeveloping the project at a later date. Stephen Root and Amy Sedaris were reportedly slated to voice Fred and Wilma, with Nicole Byer as Betty, Joe Lo Truglio as Barney and Manny Jacinto as Bamm-Bamm.  

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