Penelope “Punky” Brewster is back! The NBC hit sitcom from the ’80s. Punky Brewster, is premiering on Feb. 25, 2021, on Peacock. Starred by Soleil Moon Frye, the all-new 10-episode series will tell the story of Punky Brewster and her life as a single mom of three. “It is a dream come true, and I will literally cry,” said the California native to HOLA! USA in a zoom interview.
“I’m just bursting with gratitude for how thankful I am that we get to bring Punky back and these incredible characters that feel so much more than a show. They really feel like our lives, and I just feel so grateful,” said the actress, director, and screenwriter.
The show, which initially ran from September 16, 1984, to March 9, 1986, had storylines that addressed social issues; according to Frye, the revival will do the same. “It has been so important to us to stay true to the authenticity of the original,” she said to HOLA! USA. “And every step of the way that has been such a part of our hearts and our souls and how we want to approach storytelling and the cast, and it is such an honor.” The series is also known for having a diverse cast. “I’m so humbled and excited when I look around our amazing phenomenal cast, and that it’s reflective of that inner spirit that punky has always had, and I hope that you feel that way too.”
For the reboot, grown-up Punky followed her foster dad’s steps and became a photographer. One of the show’s biggest surprises is that her best friend is still Cherie (Cherie Johnson) and now runs Chicago’s shelter for orphaned and abandoned children, Fenster Hall.
According to the star, who is also known for portraying Roxie King, Sabrina Spellman’s roommate and close friend on WB sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, working again with Cherie Johnson was a unique experience. “It was one of the most magical moments because we’ve grown up and stayed in touch for many, many years and then there was a bunch of years where we didn’t catch up as much,” she revealed.
“And it wasn’t because [we didn’t have] love for each other, it was just that we got busy with our families and kids and all that kind of stuff,” Frye said. “And then literally seeing her again. It was like coming home. And we hugged and just broke into tears, and it was just that feeling of being safe and like that’s your person. It was just magnificent.”
The 44-year-old actress also said while filming, the cast and crew took the necessary precautions to avoid coronavirus. “We shot the pilot pre-COVID,” she told us. “And that was incredible because we were able to have the live audience, and it really felt like lightning in a bottle.” Soleil Moon Frye said once the pandemic hit, having everyone healthy was a priority. “During these times [it was] really making sure that we stayed safe, and that our cast and our crew and everyone was safe.”
“We also wanted to make sure that we can encourage other people to get back to work safely. And also, I just was so honored, we were able to work in a time when so many people are out of work. And so I would literally come to work every day and just be in tears because I just felt so fortunate to be doing what I love, knowing that there are so many people in the world in so much pain. And so it was, was very deeply moving, for me,” she added.
Besides acting, Frye also dedicates her time to volunteer for those in need. “I’m incredibly proud to work with CORE, which is an organization that I work with, and we’ve been doing vaccinations across the country and testing,” she said. CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a non-profit organization founded by actor Sean Penn in 2010 after Haiti’s earthquake that destroyed everything in the half-island. In March 2020, the organization began administering free COVID-19 tests.