A couple of quick updates tonight…
Despite the less than stellar reviews before the debut of the CBS reboot of MacGyver, the freshman series had a strong debut and while there has been some loss of ratings it is in line with other shows, and now CBS has given the order for a full 22 episode season, along with sister series Bull. Strong international sales helped bolster their positions, helped by the fact that the show is fully owned by CBS.
We’re still not sold on MacGyver yet, but our rule is that if the premise interests us, we’ll give it at least 5 episodes to get going and hook us…
YouTube Red is making a play on the genre with a green light to Seven Bucks Productions and Studio71 for eight episodes of a half-hour time travel series tentatively called Lifeline, where life insurance agents are sent forward in time to prevent their clients from accidental deaths…I’m not sure why going forward makes sense yet…Seven Bucks Productions is the production company from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his partner Dany Garcia. It will be directed by Corridor Digital’s Sam Gorski and Niko Pueringer and written by Ben Freiburger and Grant Wheele. Producers are Johnson, Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Hiram Garcia for Seven Bucks Productions and Dan Weinstein, Gary Binkow and Amee Dolleman for Studio71.
We knew that although CBS picked up MacGyver to series, there was a major retooling in the works. We figured it would be the not-rare practice of simply replacing characters, but it turns out they are really chucking the entire pilot episode and starting over – to the point that George Eads will play an entirely different – yet familiar – character and how things get started will change – and James Wan will direct the new premiere episode.
Whereas the pilot had followed similarly to the original – MacGyver being recruited by a clandestine organization – the new one will apparently have MacGyver (Lucas Till) creating the organization itself within the U.S. government, utilizing his skills to save others’ lives. Co-star Eads, who was to play an original character who was described as something of a conspiracy theorist, will now play maverick former CIA agent Jack Dalton, a role originated by Bruce McGill in the original series. Peter Lenkov, showrunner for Hawaii Five-0 is writing the new script and will likely act as showrunner. And James Wan, who has been shepherding the production but had conflicts and couldn’t direct the pilot, will direct the new episode.
CBS has been wanting to bring MacGyver back to television for a while, and they finally will. The network gave the green light to a series, but we understand that MAJOR changes will happen after the pilot. Stars Lucas Till and George Eads will remain, as will the basic plot, but the supporting cast are all leaving, as are original pilot writer Paul Downs Colaizzo and Brett Mahoney, who helped with the pilot shooting script. Peter Lenkov, who is the showrunner for Hawaii Five-O, will write a new script and is also tagged as the showrunner here as well.
NBC wants to join the time travel bandwagon, picking up Timeless from Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan. The show stars Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer and Malcolm Barrett, is about a mysterious criminal who steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, soldier and history professor who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?
Lastly, one show we expected to see but won’t is Marvel’s Most Wanted, the spinoff of Agents of SHIELD that was to follow disavowed agents Morse and Hunter, played by Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood. Apparently the pilot only received mixed reviews. AS they already had done some work last summer to spruce up the show, it seems unlikely it will receive any further attention.
CBS has chosen the next MacGyver…Lucas Till, who plays Havok in the X-Men franchise, has been tapped for the pilot of the rebooted TV series.
Till will play a twenty-something version of the character as he’s first recruited to work for the Phoenix Foundation. Also announced is Joshua Boone (Fan Girl) as Gunner, MacGyver’s best friend.
The pilot is being written by Paul Downs Colaizzo and Brett Mahoney and directed by David Von Ancken, with James Wan executive producing. Other executive producers include Colaizzo, Mahoney and Ancken, along with original creator David Lee Zlotoff and original producer Henry Winkler, and Michael Clear.
We’re gonna need more duct tape…we know CBS has been excited about bringing MacGyver back as a rebooted series, and now they’ve given a green light to a series pilot, to be directed Furious 7‘s James Wan and written by Paul Downs Colaizzo, and now has original executive producer Henry Winkler on board, but Lionsgate has also announced yesterday during an analysts call that they are producing a feature film, as part of a discussion on simultaneous TV and film projects.
The movie is being developed by Fast And Furious producer Neal Moritz, who is working with original series creator Lee David Zlotoff. Nothing else is known at this time.
CBS is picking up the idea of a MacGyver reboot, and James Wan (Furious 7 director) is running with it. In fact, Wan has been interesting in working on MacGyver for some time, to the point that he had already developed a “Young MacGyver” feature film.
While they aren’t actually calling it a “Young” MacGyver, it does appear that they are setting the character about 10 years younger than the original (played by Richard Dean Anderson), and plan to show how he gained his abilities to “macgyver” contraptions to save the day.
MacGyver was previously being eyed for a feature film from creator Lee Zlotoff and the De Laurentiis clan behind it for New Line Cinema, but it apparently went nowhere.
This new potential series will bring back original executive producer Henry Winkler, to be joined by R. Scott Gemmill (NCIS: Los Angeles), who will also write the pilot, Wan (who will direct) and Michael Clear, who runs Wan’s shingle Atomic Monster.
The series will come from the network’s corporate sibling CBS Television Studios, who owns the rights to MacGyver through its merger with Paramount Network Television.
There has been a lot of buzz about MacGyver creator Lee Zlotoff and the “next MacGyver” that seem to be intimating that the show is coming back with a woman in the title role…that isn’t actually the plan – but it does bring to light an exciting idea.
What is actually happening is that Zlotoff is partnering with The National Academy of Engineering, The USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and The MacGyver Foundation for The Next MacGyver, a crowdsourced project/competition to help develop a new series in which a female engineer in the spirit of MacGyver would be the lead character.
The competition is for non-professionals (you could not have sold a screenplay for more than $50,000) to come up with an entertaining concept which features with one or more protagonists who are engineers or engineering must be central to the show, in any genre you choose. It is also aimed at middle/high school students to help foster an interest in engineering.
12 finalists will be chosen to attend the “pitch competition”, and from them 5 finalists will receive $5,000 and be paired with an experienced Hollywood producer and a distinguished engineer to mentor the finalist as they develop their story into a full draft.
Do you have what it takes? Follow the link above and enter!
Doing my periodic update of our Sci-Fi TV Store (if you think anything should be included, let me know!)…the next two classic Doctor Who releases will be ”Frontios” and ”Time And The Rani”, released on June 14th; the classic Krofft show H.R. Pufnstuf gets a new Collector’s Edition which includes the only episode of “Horror Hotel”, a combo-spinoff featuring characters from Pufnstuff and Lidsville (along with a new standard release), out on April 12th; the MacGyver TV movies, (released last June but I missed it); the CGI series ReBoot finally get’s its first two seasons released on DVD on March 1st; and The Twilight Zone get its Blu-Ray releases, with Season 3 just out and Season 4 due in May.
Move over MacGruber, even your grandma Betty White knows the real thing…Jason Richman (Bad Company, Bangkok Dangerous) has been tapped to work on a MacGyver feature film for New Line, to run under Raffaella De Laurentiis’ Raffaella Productions, with Martha De Laurentiis and Lee Zlotoff also producing and Dino De Laurentiis as exec.