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Chris Hadfield’s Memoir To Become TV Sitcom

Chris Hadfield’s Memoir To Become TV Sitcom

Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Chris Hadfield brings the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters. And soon, to every living room as well: ABC has committed to the creation of a family comedy inspired by his 2013 bestseller, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. The proposed series will focus on a post-mission astronaut readjusting to life on terra firma, which “might be the hardest mission he’s ever faced”:

Hadfield, the pride of Sarnia, Ont., was the first Canadian to officially command a space mission and came down to Earth himself in May, 2013, following a five-month stint aboard the International Space Station.

Perhaps more famously, it was during that same mission, which was his third spaceflight, that Hadfield garnered a massive global following on social media courtesy of his videos and musical performances recorded in zero-gravity conditions.

Most notably, Hadfield’s eerily fitting cover version of the David Bowie song Space Oddity has been viewed more than 22-million times on YouTube. (Hadfield removed the video from YouTube earlier this summer for copyright reasons.)

In his book, Hadfield wrote eloquently about how his experiences in space could be applied to everyday life.

“What happened to me is interesting to me, but what really matters is what does it mean to someone else?” said Hadfield in an interview shortly after the book’s release. “It is really about how you bring it back and make the experience as relevant that matters.”

Hadfield retired from active astronaut duty after his last mission and currently splits his time between professorial duties at the University of Waterloo and speaking engagements.

Hadfield will serve as a consulting producer on the new, still-untitled series being mounted for ABC by TV veterans Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, who have previously adapted two other memoirs into TV series.

The primetime series $#”! My Dad Says and Surviving Jack were both based on autobiographical tomes penned by Halpern and enjoyed fleeting existences on CBS and Fox, respectively.

No casting decisions have been announced for the pilot of the Hadfield sitcom, but if the project eventually makes it to air, it won’t be the only astronaut-themed show on American prime time television.

NBC has already sanctioned the sitcom Mission Control, which is executive-produced by the Anchorman team of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and stars Krysten Ritter as a “tough but brilliant aerospace engineer” leading a team of quirky NASA scientists in the sixties.

ABC is also planning the series The Astronaut Wives Club, based on the book by Lily Koppel. Booked for a 10-episode run in spring of 2015, the drama will tell the true-life story of the women left behind by America’s first astronauts in the sixties.

Meanwhile, Chris Hadfield’s second book, You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes, will be released this October. The book recounts an entire orbit around earth by combining Hadfield’s commentary with the photos he took while on-board the space station.

Still boldly going, just like a good Canadian.

By Andrew Ryan/The Globe and Mail/August, 2014