EXCLUSIVE: As he’s preparing to bid farewell to Sam Winchester, Supernatural star Jared Padalecki is gearing up for another run on the CW in a new character. The network has landed for development Walker, a reimagining of CBS’ 1990s action/crime series Walker, Texas Ranger, with Padalecki set to star and executive producing.
Walker extends Padalecki’s stay at the CW and predecessor the WB, which he had called home for the past two decades with roles on Gilmore Girls and Supernatural.
As we reported last month, the CW emerged early on as the leading contender for the new show, written/executive produced by Anna Fricke (Valor) and executive produced by Dan Lin (Lethal Weapon).
Like the original series, created by Albert S. Ruddy & Leslie Greif, the reboot, in which Walker is getting a female partner, will explore morality, family, and rediscovering our lost common ground. It centers on Cordell Walker (Padalecki), a widower and father of two with his own moral code, who returns home to Austin after being undercover for two years, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home. He’ll attempt to reconnect with his children, navigate clashes with his conservative family, and find unexpected common ground with his new partner (one of the first women in Texas Rangers’ history), while growing increasingly suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death.
I hear Texas native Padalecki had been looking for an opportunity to stay close to home for his next series and sparked to the idea of revisiting Walker, Texas Ranger. Walker is believed to be a straight reboot, in the vein of CBS’ Magnum PI and MacGyver, with a new incarnation of the beloved title character, played by Padalecki, vs. a sequel where the new lead is a descendant of the protagonist in the original series, who was played by Chuck Norris.
Padalecki and Fricke executive produce Walker with Rideback’s Lin and Lindsey Libertore for CBS Studios.
From the moment word of Walker got out, there had been great enthusiasm for the project at the CW where Supernatural has been an institution, with its stars Padalecki and Jensen Ackles revered by CW fans and enjoying a very close relationship with the network’s president and Supernatural superfan Mark Pedowitz.
As Supernatural is ending its 15-season run, Pedowitz had made it clear that the door at the network was wide open for the creative team and talent of the show to return anytime. “You will always have a home here, and you will always have a personal fan in me,” he said at TCA in August. Because of Pedowitz’s strong affinity for Padalecki and Ackles and because of Supernatural‘s legacy at the network, I hear landing Walker was very important for the CW boss, who spearheaded the network’s aggressive bid.
Given its pedigree and Padalecki’s involvement, Walker a considered an instant leading contender for the CW’s 2020-21 lineup, along with the new Arrowverse spinoff. The CW has been high on reboots in the past few years with Charmed, Dynasty and Roswell all making it to the schedule and scoring renewals.
The original 1993 Walker, Texas Ranger aired on CBS for eight seasons and spawned a followup TV movie, the 2005 Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.
Padalecki is repped by UTA, Industry Entertainment’s Dan Spilo and Fuller Law.