Friday, May 14, 2010

I Can’t Say I’m Disappointed

Yesterday we told you that NBC-TV’s plans to resurrect James Garner’s well-loved, 1974-1980 private-eye series, The Rockford Files, as part of this coming fall’s debut schedule had run into some serious snags. Now it appears the project is dead. At least for the time being

From Deadline Hollywood:
It’s been a stunning downfall for NBC’s update of the classic P.I. series, which only a month ago appeared as one of the few sure things this pilot season with its strong brand name, House creator David Shore as writer and Steve Carell as producer. The first signs of trouble came in the casting stage when it took a long time to cast the lead famously played by James Garner on the original series as several offers to A-list actors didn't pan out. But feedback from the audition of Dermot Mulroney, who has strong improv background, was great, and the pilot, which co-starred Alan Tudyk and Beau Bridges, went underway with Michael Watkins at the helm. However, NBC was underwhelmed by the completed pilot. It then underwent major recutting, which was reportedly done by the editor of one of NBC’s top drama pilots this year, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Chase. But, while an improvement vs. the original cut, the new version of the pilot still didn’t impress NBC brass enough to muster a series order. Still, a redevelopment of the concept is a possibility.
Well, let’s hope not. Why can’t TV networks just leave classic series such as Rockford and Hawaii Five-O alone? Why do they insist on trying to capture an audience that loved the original, but more often that not despises the remake? (Need I mention Knight Rider? Or The Night Stalker? Or how about Bionic Woman?) NBC used to be awash in interesting crime-fiction programming. Now that it needs to take its scripted shows more seriously again, following the debacle of Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. experiment, the network should go prospecting for some fresh series concepts, rather than trying to retread old ones. Or, if it simply must steal ideas, why doesn’t it start looking toward characters who have been popular in books, but have never been reimagined as TV stars. Anybody for Amos Walker, P.I., The Adventures of Nate Heller, or Berlin Beat, featuring Bernie Gunther?

(Hat tip to Cameron Hughes.)

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