Johnny Galecki is returning to TV, and the franchise that helped cement his acting career. The Big Bang Theory vet has been announced as a producer on the upcoming HBO Max TV series based on the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, which will take a modern-day look at the Griswold family. The series will be titled The Griswolds and will be written by Community and The Middle writer-producer Tim Hobert, and co-produced by Holy Brown.
Galecki’s big break came in 1989 when he was cast as Russell ‘Rusty’ Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Galecki starred opposite Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, who played his parents Clark and Ellen, Juliette Lewis who played big sister Audrey, and Randy Quaid, who played Uncle Eddie. The film was written by John Hughes and based on Hughes’ short story “Christmas ’59,” which appeared in a 1980 issue of National Lampoon Magazine. The iconic film went on to make $71.3 million at the box office and continues to be one of the most popular holiday films. Of course, it’s not Hughes’ most successful Christmas movie. That distinction belongs to Home Alone, which amassed $476.7 million at the box office upon its release in 1990.
Casting announcements for The Griswolds have yet to be made, but Galecki did recently reunite with one of his Lampoon co-stars. Lewis and Galecki played a romantic couple on the reboot of Roseanne in 2018, with Galecki returning to the series in 2019 after it was renamed The Connors following Roseanne Barr’s firing.
It’s unclear whether Galecki will also act in the upcoming reboot, which is currently in the script phase and has not been officially ordered. If The Griswolds gets the greenlight, it will have a home at HBO Max, which has taken a keen interest in reboots. The streaming service has already approved a new series based on Gossip Girl, which will include the return of Kristen Bell as the show’s narrator, a prequel to the Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock film Practical Magic and a new series called Rydell High, based on the hugely popular movie musical Grease.
Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo returned to their National Lampoon roots in 2015 when the franchise was brought back to the big screen. Vacation starred Ed Helms as an adult Rusty who takes his family on a cross-country trip to Wally World. Christina Applegate played Rusty’s wife Debbie, with Leslie Mann taking on Lewis’ role as Audrey Griswold and Chris Hemsworth playing her cowboy husband.
Since wrapping his 10-season run as Dr. Leonard Hofstader on The Big Bang Theory earlier this year, Galecki has taken some time off from film sets. The actor did appear in the film A Dog’s Life, but otherwise has kept his focus on his personal life. Galecki and girlfriend Alaina Meyer welcomed their first child earlier this month, announcing the birth of their son on December 4. The couple have yet to reveal the child’s name, but did share a cute hand pic.