EXCLUSIVE: Shout! Factory has inked a worldwide multiyear distribution deal for a 10 Kenny Rogers-starring films including all five in The Gambler TV movie series. The pact includes remake rights that paves the way for a TV series reboot based on Rogers’ card-playing, adventure-seeking Brady Hawkes, who was at the center of The Gambler in a run that spanned 14 years.
Shout! Factory’s original content unit Shout! Studios is developing and will produce the updated series based on the music, movies, and miniseries spawned by The Gambler, the title of the first 1980 TV movie that aired on CBS. It earned four sequels, the last, Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, airing in 1994.
“As far as legacies go, The Gambler is a doozy,” said Brent Haynes, Head of Original Content Development at Shout! “We are thrilled to be working with Kenny’s estate on this series. This is the kind of nostalgic, feel-good storytelling that is built into Shout!’s DNA.”
The potential series will be shopped outside Shout!’s own streaming platform.
In addition to The Gambler movies, the overall worldwide deal with Vector Management includes broadcast, streaming, on-demand, digital, home entertainment and theatrical rights to the Rogers-starring movies Coward of the County (1981), Wild Horses (1985), MacShayne: Winner Takes All (1994) and MacShayne: The Final Roll of the Dice (1994). Shout! also acquired international rights to 1993’s Rio Diablo.
“Kenny Rogers captivated fans worldwide with his distinctive voice, heartfelt performances and storytelling. He was a unique, multi-talented artist. The Gambler movie series and his films have already proven to be highly popular with fans and viewers over the years. We’re thrilled and honored to bring these beloved films out through Shout!’s global entertainment distribution channels. We’re also honored and excited to develop a new series based on The Gambler intellectual property,” Shout! Factory founders and CEOs Bob Emmer and Garson Foos said Tuesday.
Rogers, the country crooner with a husky voice who died in March at age 81, won three Grammys for a songbook that included his signature tune “The Gambler” which spawned the movie franchise. (Another hit of his is “Coward of the County,” the basis of the 1981 TV movie that is also part of the Shout! deal.) The Country Music Hall of Famer’s hits included “Lady”; “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with longtime friend and frequent collaborator Dolly Parton; and “Lucille.”
Earlier in his career, Rogers sang for the First Edition, which had top 10 hits with “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” and “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” the latter of which was used for the memorable dream sequence in the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski.
In March, Shout! Factory struck a similar deal with Stephen J. Cannell Productions Inc for a slew of rights to the prolific TV creator’s catalog of 1970s-1990s shows including 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Wiseguy, The Commish, The Greatest American Hero and Riptide.