EXCLUSIVE: I hear a new take on the 1970s comedic action drama CHiPs is in the works at Warner Bros Television. Numbers creators Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton are writing/exec producing, and Topher Grace would exec produce the reboot with his partner at Sargent Hall Prods Gordon Kaywin. Topher will not be starring. Deals are still being finalized, and the project has not been taken out to the networks yet. But I bet it will spark solid interest given the heat that the revamp of another 1970s action procedural, CBS’ new series Hawaii Five-0, has been garnering going into fall.
WBTV first tried mounting a remake of CHiPs 8 years ago with Doug Liman and Dave Bartis producing. The project, which didn’t go to pilot, was set up at NBC, with two scripts developed, one by Natalie Chaidez, and another by Martin Kunert and Eric Manes. Warner Bros, which owns the rights to the original series, also has been trying to get a feature remake of CHiPs off the ground. The project was put in development in 2005 with Grace’s That ’70s Show co-star Wilmer Valderrama attached to play Ponch. Meanwhile, Grace and Kaywin developed another reboot last season, a contemporary take on the 1985 movie St. Elmo’s Fire, which was set up at ABC via Sony TV and studio-based producer Jamie Tarses.
The original CHiPs, which ran on NBC from 1977 to 1983, was created by Rick Rosner and followed the lives of two motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol, macho, rambunctious Officer Francis “Ponch” Poncherello (Erik Estrada) and his straight-laced partner, Officer Jonathan “Jon” Baker (Larry Wilcox).