CBS continues to bet on classic series reboots, giving pilot orders to new incarnations of Magnum P.I. and Cagney and Lacey. Also getting a pilot green light by the network is drama Chiefs, from David Hudgins and Carol Mendelsohn.
CBS had previously 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.
Cagney and Lacey is a reboot of the iconic 1980s police procedural starring Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless, which ran on CBS for seven seasons.
Written and executive produced by Bridget Carpenter, the series will follow two female police detectives and friends who keep the streets of L.A. safe. CBS TV Studios is co-producing with MGM Television.
The original series won two best drama Emmys and six lead actress in a drama series trophies — four for Daly and two for Gless.
This is the third season in a row that CBS has greenlighted to pilot reboots of all series. The previous two, MacGyver and S.W.A.T., both went to series. The network also has a Hawaii Five-0 on the air.
Written by Hudgins, Chiefs explores the professional and personal lives of three driven, successful, but very different women who are each Chiefs of Police of their own precincts in L.A. County. They band together to create a task force to catch a dangerous serial killer.
In real life, there are currently seven female police chiefs in Los Angeles County, an all-time high.
Hudgins is executive producing Chiefs with Carol Mendelsohn Prods.’ Mendelsohn and Julie Weitz. Sony Pictures TV co-produce with CBS TV Studios.
At Sony TV, Hudgins and Mendelsohn previously worked together on the drama Game Of Silence, which Hudgins also wrote. It went to series at NBC starring David Lyons.
Hudgins most recently served as executive producer/showrunner on the first season of the Hulu/Sony TV drama series Shut Eye starring Jeffrey Donovan.