EXCLUSIVE: Disney is severing ties with Fred Savage following multiple complaints of misconduct in his role as executive producer and director on the freshman ABC comedy series The Wonder Years, produced by 20th Television, part of Disney Television Studios. The allegations were investigated, leading to Savage’s dismissal. The Wonder Years, a reboot of the beloved 1988 series, which starred Savage, has not been renewed for a second season yet but remains in contention.
“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,” a spokesman for 20th Television said in a statement to Deadline, declining further comment.
Details about the nature of the allegations are unclear but I hear they included verbal outbursts and inappropriate behavior. Deadline has reached out to Savage’s reps for comment.
Savage has been the subject of misconduct accusations in the past.
In 2018, actress Alley Mills came forward with claims that the cancellation of the original Wonder Years followed a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against her co-stars Savage (then 16) and Jason Hervey (then 20), which she said was settled out of court.
The same year, a crew member on Savage’s Fox series The Grinder filed a lawsuit, accusing the actor of attacking and harassing her on the set of the series in 2015. At the time, Savage called the allegations “completely without merit and absolutely untrue,” while 20th Television, which produced the show, said that, after an investigation into the claims, found no evidence of wrongdoing by Savage. That lawsuit also was eventually settled out of court.
The accusations probably come as a shock to a generation of Americans who grew up with Savage and his hugely popular characters as a child actor: the grandson in 1987’s modern classic The Princess Bride, and Kevin Arnold, a teenager growing up in a suburban middle class family in the late 1960s and early 1970s, on the original Wonder Years series which aired on ABC from 1988 to 1993. He was 12 when he was cast in the series, and at the age of 13 received the first of two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to become the youngest actor ever nominated in the category.
Savage subsequently branched out and has been working largely behind the camera as a director. On the new Wonder Years, he directed eight episodes in Season 1, including the pilot, in addition to executive producing the show which follows the Black middle-class Williams family in Montgomery, AL, during the turbulent late 1960s.