Wonder Years Executive Producer Discusses Fred Savage's 'Heartbreaking' Exit: 'The Show Will Go On'

·3 min read
Wonder Years, Fred Savage
Wonder Years, Fred Savage

ABC/Matt Sayles; Inset: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

An executive producer of ABC's The Wonder Years is speaking out following Fred Savage's exit for alleged "inappropriate conduct."

Saladin Patterson opened up about Savage's departure in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE at The Wonder Years For Your Consideration panel at the Academy Museum on Sunday.

"It was very heartbreaking, but I have to trust the process," Patterson told PEOPLE. "Disney does a very good job making sure that everyone is treated equitably, and we're just going to focus on moving forward and doing a great show. It's bigger than any one person. It's bigger than me."

"So the show will go on, and the show will continue to be great," he added.

(A rep for Savage has not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment.)

fredsavage
fredsavage

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU/Getty

RELATED: Fred Savage Fired as Director and EP of The Wonder Years for Alleged 'Inappropriate Conduct'

On Friday, ABC announced The Wonder Years will return for a second season. Patterson teased what fans can expect from the comedy's sophomore run, adding the show's season finale — which airs on Wednesday — will end on "a bit of a cliffhanger."

"I don't want to spoil it, but it opens up the world for the Williams family a little bit for us to explore season 2, a little bit outside of Montgomery, Alabama, although that's still going to be where we're rooted," he shared.

He continued, "But we get to see them experience the country and the world in a little broader sense and then bringing those experiences back and I'm looking forward to how that mixes things up a little bit."

RELATED: The Wonder Years Renewed at ABC for Season 2 After Fred Savage's Firing

Patterson added that while ABC kept the cast and crew waiting on the renewal news, they are "excited" for the upcoming season.

"[We're all] very excited to keep telling stories about the Williams family," he said, "and honestly most excited to still put some stories on TV and characters on TV and situations that don't exist in any other show. And we had the privilege of being able to tell those stories and I'm looking forward to just exploring that more."

fred savage
fred savage

Getty Images Fred Savage Says He'll Remember His First Kiss on The Wonder Years Set 'Forever': 'I Was So Scared'

RELATED: Fred Savage Is 'Taking a Break' to Learn How He 'Could Be Doing Better' After Wonder Years Firing

Earlier this month, Savage, 45, was fired as executive producer and director of The Wonder Years due to allegations of misconduct, a spokesperson for 20th Television confirmed to PEOPLE.

"Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched," the spokesperson said. "Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years."

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On Friday, a source told PEOPLE that the former child star was "taking a break" following the accusations of on-set misconduct.

"People thought he wasn't treating people well, there were a couple complaints. But now he's taking a break," the source said. "Instead of him being like, 'Screw you for saying this to me,' he's like, 'OK, well if that's how people are feeling, I need to figure out what I could be doing better.' "

"He's had an incredible career directing TV, and sometimes, he gets pissed off on set and gets annoyed. And it's a flaw. It is what it is," the insider added.

The Wonder Years' season 1 finale airs Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.