Coming soon: American version of Grandpas Over Flowers

William Shatner.
William Shatner.

SEOUL • An American version of the South Korean travel reality show Grandpas Over Flowers, led by Star Trek actor William Shatner, is taking to the road.

NBC's version, titled Better Late Than Never, will air early next year, the first time a Korean television format is being produced and broadcast in the United States, South Korean producer-director Na Young Seok revealed in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

Na is the producer of Grandpas Over Flowers, which aired on Korean cable network tvN and has four elderly actors backpacking abroad.

"NBC bought the rights two years ago. After a year of preparation, they began shooting last fall. I believe they are currently in the last stage of production," said Na, who added that he has been corresponding with the NBC production staff via e-mail. "It has taken around three years to complete one season."

The American version will have celebrities in the twilight of life travelling to various corners of the world, ticking off items on their bucket lists.

According to Yonhap, the cast will include Shatner, 84; Happy Days actor Henry Winkler, 70; former American football quarterback Terry Bradshaw, 67; and former heavyweight boxer George Foreman, 77.

Comedian Jeff Dye, 32, will be the equivalent of Korean actor Lee Seo Jin in the original series, serving as a porter and tour guide of sorts.

Asked about the success of the show in the US, Na answered: "We'll have to open the lid and see. It's difficult to guarantee whether the show's sentiment will appeal to American viewers."

Grandpas has had four successful seasons so far, following the cast to France, Taiwan, Spain and Greece. The series has often been linked to the increasing number of Korean tourists in the featured locations.

Grandpas, and its spinoff Sisters Over Flowers, have also been remade for China.

Na, known for putting the spotlight on the quaint and the everyday, has a number of hit travel and cooking shows under his belt, including Two Days And One Night, which has been airing since 2007, and most recently, 3 Meals A Day.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2015, with the headline 'Coming soon: American version of Grandpas Over Flowers'. Print Edition | Subscribe