EXCLUSIVE: Magnum P.I. is looking to join an elite group of popular broadcast series that have overcome shocking cancellations to continue their runs. No one is commenting, but I hear talks are underway for NBC and/or USA Network to potentially carry the series starring Jay Hernandez.
An arrangement still is being figured out, but I hear one scenario is for new episodes to air on NBC while USA would run previous seasons of the action drama, a reboot of the 1980s series that starred Tom Selleck.
Immediately following CBS’ surprise May 12 cancellation of Magnum P.I. after four seasons, Universal Television, which co-produces the series with CBS Studios, sprung into action and started exploring potential new homes for the show, I hear.
Basic cable network USA quickly emerged as a contender, with NBC entering the conversation soon thereafter. Paramount+ also had been mentioned as a possibility, but the focus recently has been on the two NBCUniversal linear networks as a viable option. I hear conversations are progressing and are now in advanced stages, focusing on making the budget work.
A pickup of Magnum P.I. by a new network would be contingent on a deal being made with CBS Studios. I hear negotiations between NBCU and the Paramount Global studio have not started yet.
As co-producing entities, Universal TV and CBS Studios have split rights, with Universal TV handling international and CBS spearheading domestic off-network sales. Interestingly, four years into its run, Magnum P.I. has not been taken out yet to domestic cable or SVOD buyers, and I hear there is no price tag on the show’s library yet, something that will need to be sorted out. It is not clear yet whether Paramount+ might be interested in the SVOD library rights or Peacock would emerge as the strongest possibility, keeping the series within the NBCU family across linear and digital.
All sides have until the end of the month to hammer out an agreement. If negotiations stretch beyond that, Universal TV will have to extend the options on the cast, which are up June 30.
Magnum P.I. is a marquee title in Universal’s TV library. Additionally, the reboot, a rare broadcast drama with a Latino lead, has been a Top 25 show in total viewers. It is believed to be the most-watched broadcast series to get the ax this upfront season. Its cancellation came after lengthy and complex talks between CBS and Universal Television, which also is behind CBS’ FBI franchise and The Equalizer. Following tough negotiations, the other four series, which are among CBS’ top ratings performers, received multi-season renewals. The feeling was that under different circumstances, Magnum P.I. likely would have made the cut, with CBS’ 2022 drama pilots coming in strong also likely factoring into what the network’s brass described as a difficult decision to cancel Magnum P.I.
In 2018, NBC stepped in to save the Universal TV-produced Brooklyn Nine-Nine after it was canceled by Fox after five seasons. The cop comedy ran on NBC for three additional seasons. The most recent success stories for canceled broadcast series came last year when Manifest landed at Netflix following its axing by NBC and CBS’ All Rise was resurrected by OWN.
Magnum P.I. follows Thomas Magnum (Hernandez), a private investigator and former Navy SEAL who solves crimes in the Hawaii after returning home from Afghanistan and repurposing his military skills.
Perdita Weeks, Zachary Knighton, Stephen Hill, Tim Kang and Amy Hill also star. Eric Guggenheim, Justin Lin, John Davis, John Fox, and Danielle Woodrow are executive producers. The series is based on the 1980s drama created by Donald P. Bellisario and Glen A. Larson.
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