CBS is adding two procedurals to its drama pilot slate, giving orders to MacGyver, a reimagining of the 1985 series from Saw and Furious 7 director James Wan; and Bull, a trial consultant drama based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s early career, from the popular daytime talk show host, Homicide creator Paul Attanasio and Amblin Television. Both projects hail from sibling CBS TV Studios.
CBS had been high from the get-go on MacGyver, a new take on a resourceful and ingenious agent who improvises his way out of sticky situations using everyday items like rubber bands, chewing gum and a Swiss Army knife.
The new series, which comes from Wan, the original’s executive producer Henry Winkler and writer Paul Downs Colaizzo, features a 10-years younger protagonist. Twentysomething Angus MacGyver gets recruited into the clandestine organization from the original series where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening. The series is expected to chronicle how MacGyver acquired some of his famous skill sets.
The project originally had NCIS: LA executive producer R. Scott Gemmill attached as a writer. I hear that, upon receiving his script, the producers went to the drawing board and ultimately commissioned a new script by Colaizzo, which got the pilot green light, with Wan set to direct. The two executive produce with Winkler and Michael Clear, who heads Wan’s Atomic Monster.
Wan had long been interested in the property and actually had developed a young MacGyver feature focusing on Angus’ college years.
The original series, created by Lee David Zlotoff and executive produced by Winkler and John Rich, ran on ABC for 7 seasons. It became a pop culture staple, famously parodied by Saturday Night Live‘s MacGruber. Remake-wise, the WB previously tried to develop a Young MacGyver series.
Attanasio and McGraw co-wrote Bull, based on McGraw’s early days as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time. The two executive produce with Amblin’s Justin Falvey & Darryl Frank as well as McGraw’s son, producer Jay McGraw, through the duo’s company Stage 29 Prods. Phil McGraw recently renewed his contract with CBS sibling CBS TV Distribution to continue on his hit talk show Dr. Phil through 2020.