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ABC developing 'Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth' as TV sitcom

In "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," Chris Hadfield shares what he learned from flying in space. Now, the book will serve as the basis for a sitcom being developed by ABC. (collectSPACE)
Aug. 20, 2014 — Astronaut Chris Hadfield's down-to-Earth advice is now the basis for a television sitcom.

ABC on Tuesday (Aug. 19) committed to the production of a pilot episode for a family comedy inspired by Hadfield's best-selling book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" (Little, Brown and Co., 2013), Deadline Hollywood reports. The TV series, as described, will follow an astronaut as he readjusts to domestic life, discovering that it "might be the hardest mission he's ever faced."

Hadfield returned to Earth in May 2013 after a five-month stay on board the International Space Station. During the expedition, which was his third spaceflight, he became the first Canadian to command a mission and attracted a huge following on social media through his downlinked videos and music performances recorded from orbit. His cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" was watched more than 20 million times on YouTube.

Hadfield retired from the Canadian Space Agency just two months after landing to become a university professor and professional speaker.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds up copies of his book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth." (Starport/Jami Lupold)
In his book "An Astronaut's Guide," Hadfield wrote about how his experiences training for space and flying in orbit could be applied to everyday life on the ground.

"What happened to me is interesting to me, but what really matters is what does it mean to someone else," Hadfield told soon after the book was released. "What happens in space is inherently, I think, interesting to people, but it can be sort of like watching a juggler. It is fascinating to watch a juggler, but what does it mean? It is entertaining."

"So, it is really about how you bring it back and make the experience as relevant that matters," Hadfield said.

According to Deadline, creators Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker (CBS' "S#*! My Dad Says," Fox's "Surviving Jack") will write and team with Erwin Stoff ("The Matrix") and Tom Lassally ("Edge of Tomorrow") to produce.

Hadfield will serve as a consulting producer.

Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth." (RHC)
If ABC approves it for air, the "Astronaut's Guide"- based series won't be the only space-themed sitcom on network TV, nor is it ABC's only astronaut-based property.

Coming soon to NBC, the sitcom "Mission Control" stars Krysten Ritter ("Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23") as a "tough but brilliant aerospace engineer, leading a team of NASA scientists" in the 1960s. The half-hour comedy is being executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay ("Anchorman," "Talladega Nights").

ABC has also green-lit "Astronaut Wives Club," a limited-event series based on Lily Koppel's best-selling book by the same title. The 10-episode drama, which is scheduled to debut next spring, tells the true-life story of the spouses of America's early spacemen.

"An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" was Hadfield's first book. His second, due out this October, is "You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes" (Little, Brown and Co.). Combining Hadfield's commentary with the photos he took while on the space station, "You Are Here" reproduces an orbit around the Earth.

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Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
Video credit: Chris Hadfield