CBS has shelled out a big pilot production commitment to Magnum P.I., an update of the classic 1980s Tom Selleck series set in Hawaii. It hails from Peter Lenkov, CBS/CBS Studios’ go-to writer for rebooting iconic procedurals who has successfully revived Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver, and Davis Entertainment (The Blacklist).
Co-written by Lenkov and fellow Hawaii Five-0 executive producer/co-showrunner Eric Guggenheim, Magnum P.I. will feature the same central quartet of characters as the original but, instead of four guys, it will consist of three men and a woman, with Higgins (played by John Hillerman) reconceived as Juliet Higgins. CBS/CBS Studios took a similar approach with Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick Watson on Elementary, who became Joan Watson.
The new Magnum P.I. follows Thomas Magnum, a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. With help from fellow vets Theodore “TC” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright, as well as that of disavowed former MI:6 agent Juliet Higgins, Magnum takes on the cases no one else will, helping those who have no one else to turn to. Action, adventure and comedy aside, Magnum P.I. will also explore a brotherhood forged by the trauma of combat, what it means to return home an ex-soldier, and a commitment to continuing to serve while in the private sector.
Lenkov and Guggenheim executive produce with John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment. CBS TV Studios co-produces with rights holder Universal TV.
Tom Selleck, who played Magnum P.I. in the original series in one of his signature roles, is on CBS as the star/executive producer of long-running cop family drama Blue Bloods and, as part of that, he has a deal at CBS TV Studios. There were discussions about him getting involved in the reboot. I hear he opted not to get formally on board but gave the project his blessing.
I hear Lenkov originally had the idea for a new take on Magnum P.I., with Davis Entertainment spearheading the effort to bring all parties together. Magnum P.I. falls outside of Davis’ overall deal at Sony Pictures TV Studios.
Last year, ABC developed Magnum, a sequel to Magnum P.I., from Leverage creator John Rogers and Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. It followed Magnum’s daughter, Lily “Tommy” Magnum, who returns to Hawaii to take up the mantle of her father’s PI firm.
Lenkov is an executive producer on three CBS/CBS Studios series — Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver and summer drama Salvation, which was just renewed for a second season. He is repped by CAA and Del Shaw.
Guggenheim joined Hawaii Five-0 as a co-producer in Season 4 and was elevated to co-showrunner at the start of Season 7. Prior to that he was a writer on the first four seasons of the NBC/Uni TV drama Parenthood. Guggenheim is repped by ICM Partners and ZIffren Brittenham.
Davis Entertainment also has legal drama The Partner, based on the John Grisham novel, in development at Fox.